Home History Who Built the East Bay Mystery Walls in California?

Who Built the East Bay Mystery Walls in California?

East Bay Mystery Walls

The East Bay Mystery Walls stretch for 50 miles along the California landscape. Today, it remains unknown who created the structures. 

Rather than drawing attention from archaeologists, they seem to have ignored the structures. Like other early sites in America, they seem to point to the possibility that there’s much more to our history than we know. 

In the America Unearthed series, host and forensic geologist Scott Wolter explores the East Bay Mystery Walls near the San Francisco Bay.

“I can’t believe a wall this big, stretching 50 miles along the California landscape, has never been investigated by modern scientists,” Wolter says. 

Wolter finds that the wall, which stands about eight feet tall in some places, extends underground. Studying the stone, a layer around the rock’s core suggests they have been in place for at least 200 years. However, the stones may be much older.

East Bay Mystery Walls
East Bay Mystery Walls via YouTube

Who Built the East Bay Mystery Walls?

Built by Native Americans

Naturally, the easiest explanation for the wall is that the Native Americans built it. If so, what purpose would it have served? Notably, building such walls doesn’t appear to be something local tribes would have typically done. Why would they need a 50-mile wall? Certainly, it doesn’t seem likely.


One of the theories is that the Lemurians from the mythical island of Mu constructed the East Bay Mystery Walls. Stories about Lemuria became popular in 1864 when British zoologist Philip Lutley Sclater suggested lemurs from Madagascar originated on a lost landmass in the Indian Ocean.

In 2013, geologists discovered traces of a lost continent in the Indian Ocean now called Mauritia. Scientists concluded that Mauritia was “once a tiny part of a much larger ‘supercontinent’ that included India and Madagascar, called Rodinia,” noted National Geographic. However, Mauritia drowned under the ocean some 85 million years ago.


In the early 1900s, a University of California chemistry professor named Henry Coffinberry Myers suggested Chinese migrants could have built the wall. However, these were not Chinese people, but giants:

According to KQED:

“The objects Myers said he’d uncovered during forays into the hills included a “five-faced stone image,” stone axes, and pieces of pottery. Myers said that mineral deposits on the carved stone image proved it was 1,000 to 10,000 years old.

The professor suggested the walls were a sign that giants had once lived in California.

Myers and other experts the Chronicle contacted said the artifacts and the walls in the hills were evidence that early hill dwellers — perhaps giants who had gained immense strength by lifting big rocks — had migrated from China.”

After publication, the professor left Berkeley.

See more from KQED News:

Ming Dynasty Explorers

The Chinese had a strong maritime fleet as far back as the 11th Century. Could they make it across the world?

As we know, the Chinese are renowned for their wall-building, with the Great Wall of China being the most famous example completed in the Ming Dynasty.

To confirm any relationship between the walls, Woltard traveled to China. There, he spoke to China Great wall Society Vice-Chairman Dong Yaohui.

After looking at wall photos from California, Yaohui says the structures closely resemble those created in northern China around 200 BC. Known as “Wild Walls,” these older structures are not often seen by tourists.

As far back as 700 BC, the Chinese used the Wild Walls to watch and warn about approaching enemies. If an enemy appeared, they would light fire and wave flags to alert others further down the wall.

Ming Dynasty Maps

Later in the show, Wolter discusses incredible Chinese expeditions during the Ming Dynasty with anthropologist Dr. Gunnar Thompson.

Thompson explains that during the Ming Dynasty, the Golden Era of Chinese History, explorer Admiral Zheng He commanded over 200 ships on seven oceanic expeditions. As many as 28,000 men were at Zheng He’s command.

Some of the ships were 500 feet long, enormous “treasure ships” carrying hundreds of people. From 1405 AD until 1433 AD, Zheng He explored China’s coast to the African coast, covering at least 11,000 miles. 

As they explored, they created maps of what they found. Some of those maps from the Shan Hai Jing, “Collection of the Mountain and the Seas,” reveal that the Chinese may have made it far past Africa. Indeed, the maps suggest they made it all around much of the globe.

Shan Hai Jing map,
Shan Hai Jing map, Screenshot via YouTube

Looking at one map, Thompson notes that it shows North and South America and details like a “Bright Chasm Mountains,” possibly what we know as the Grand Canyon. 

It reminds us of the 1909 Arizona Gazette story of a mysterious cave filled with ancient artifacts from around the globe. Some were said to be “Oriental” in appearance, with one said to resemble Buddha.

Other maps show clearly that the Chinese seemed to be learning a great deal about the Americas by 1435, well before Christopher Columbus in 1492.

“In a lot of cases, these ancient maps are like fingerprints. They’re the kind of proof that you look for at a crime scene that tells you exactly who did the map,” says Thompson.

Shan Hai Jing map
Shan Hai Jing map, Screenshot via YouTube

Marco Polo in California?

Thompson claims these ancient maps are evidence of Italian merchant Marco Polo’s explorations in the 13th Century. Incredibly, they depict what appears to be the outline of the California coastline and a crude outline of North and South America.

Thompson theorizes that Polo may not have been merely an explorer but working secretly as a spy for Pope Innocent IV.

“Marco Polo’s real job was to go out on these Chinese expeditions across the Pacific Ocean and map the entire coast of North America,” says Thomspon. “So the maps prove that he served as a spy.”

When Polo returned, he informed the Pope about what the Chinese expeditions had discovered. Looking at the first modern atlas by Abraham Ortelius in the 1580s, we see the west coast of North America. Also, we see the Mongolian territories of Kublai Khan, who was Polo’s boss. 

“What this map proves is that there was pre-Columbian exploration all the way down the western coast of North America,” says Woltard.

atlas by Abraham Ortelius
Atlas by Abraham Ortelius, screenshot via YouTube

Perhaps, Marco Polo made it to the San Francisco area where the East Bay Mystery Walls stand?

Ancient Chinese Anchors

Wolter explains that he’s seen large stone boat anchors found off the coast of Los Angeles. Possibly, Chinese traders left the anchors behind. Since they are so old and deteriorated, it’s not possible to date them. Thus, they could be thousands of years old or from more recent times, long a subject of debate.

In 1982,the New York Times shared an article about California historian Dr. Frank J. Frost. He claimed the anchors had been “lost by Chinese fishermen living in California less than 100 years ago.”

“A Chinese marine historian has confirmed that the stone anchors are of a type used in China for thousands of years,” wrote the Times.

Frost’s claim that Chinese fishers made the anchors recently from California shale was at odds with other anthropologists. They claimed the stones came from China and were ancient, predating Columbus.

Chinese boat anchors
Chinese boat anchors via YouTube

A Chinese Medallion in the Appalachians

Hoping to find tangible proof of a link between China and California walls, Wolter visits Columbus, Ohio. There, at the Heartland Bank, historian Dr. Siu-Leung Lee shows him a Chinese medallion found in North Carolina in 1993.

Lee says a treasure hunter found the medallion buried four inches beneath the ground in western North Carolina.

Interestingly, the medallion bears a Chinese inscription at the center with Emperor Xuande’s name on it. Xuande ruled during the Ming Dynasty right before the final seventh expedition by Admiral Zheng He.

Possibly, the medallion was a gift that ended up being traded among the Native Americans?

Chinese Medallion
Chinese Medallion via YouTube

The ‘Impossible Black Tulip’

Next, Dr. Lee proceeds to show Wolter a map called the Kunyu Wanguo Quantu map, first made public in 1602.

This map has the nickname “The Impossible Black Tulip” because of its rarity, once selling 1 million dollars to the James Ford Bell Trust. Only a few copies were known, with one in the Vatican’s libraries. Does this back up the story about a spy for a Pope?

Notably, the map shows details of North and South America but omits important European cities. Furthermore, China is seen as the center of the world. Maybe, this is not Italian missionary Matteo Ricci’s work as is commonly attributed?

Dr. Lee holds that the Chinese created the map some 60 years before Columbus set sail. Some details are remarkable, like naming Florida  “Land of Flowers” and “humped oxen” describing American bison. Clearly, whoever made the map was intimately familiar with North America.

For instance, Lee notes a Chinese word on the map that sounds like “Ap-o-chan” like the word “Appalachian” used today. As noted, the Appalachians are where the treasure hunter claimed to have found the Chinese medallion.

“You’re blowing the lid off of all the scholar’s long-held beliefs of the history of America,” Wolter says.

After considering it all, it seems possible that the Chinese did arrive in California long before Columbus.

See the video from the HISTORY channel below:

Featured images: Screenshots via YouTube/HISTORY