The curious thing about Vandenberg’s Arch isn’t the technique used in its construction. It’s fairly mundane masonry, built by a civilization with a firm understanding of the arch. Nor is its location particularly puzzling, as it’s within a glacial valley that’s been inhabited for millennia, with easy access to quarries.

No, the curious thing about Vandenberg’s Arch is its angle.

The arch is set into a sheer cliff side that falls down to the river below. However it goes up, and it goes up at a nearly 45° angle. If it were meant to bridge the river, there is no cliff of similar height on the other side, simply long low set of rolling hills. If it were meant to provide a way down to the valley floor, it’s most assuredly pointed in the wrong direction.

the edge of the arch is crumbled, and material has clearly fallen away at some point. But the no debris on the valley floor, nor is there any nearby, and no indication of what the construction’s original size or purpose may have been. Vandenberg himself, describing the arch in the travelogue that wound up indelibly attaching his name to it, said “it’s as if someone got it in their head to build an arch to the stars.”

There are some crackpot theories which would see him proved right.

  • Like what you see? Purchase a print or ebook version!