The ruins of LOST

Mike Grist Fantasy Ruins, LOST, Movie/TV Ruins, World Ruins 10 Comments

The TV show LOST is all about ruins.? The island itself is a living museum, a place where the relics of millennia-old statues rest side by side with downed aircraft and underground research stations, all of them abandoned fossils of our cultural evolution.

A huge part of the show`s appeal has been the Indiana Jones-esque exploration of these ruins. It`s one of the reasons I`m such a big LOST fan. Click through to relive the adventure.

I could wax lyrical all day about how meaningful (and awesome) it is to have a place littered with great works of ancient culture right alongside mementos of modern-era slavery, sci-fi technology, and new-age hippy enlightenment. What is there not to love? It`s a series of juxtapositions that enthrall and intrigue, with the common thread of ruin running through them. We can get high on the notion that once, great things were done here. Great people built these structures, martialling forces and money almost unimaginable, following grand visions and shooting for eternity. Now though they are gone, and we wander the culture-casts they have left behind like the snarls of mis-matched detritus washed ashore at high tide.

Like I say, I could go on all day.

“Ozymandias, King of Kings!”

But that`s probably enough, and I`ll get on with it.  This article is a run-down of all of the best ruins on LOST. You might not want to read if you haven`t seen any of season 6 yet.


The Swan Hatch

The first of the Dharma hatches, inhabited by a ghost of a man called Desmond who pushes a button every 108 minutes to save the world. He doesn`t understand why he`s doing it, he doesn`t know who the Dharma Initiative were or what they wanted, he`s just a lost soul trapped in a decaying machine.

Sealed-off escape hatch Locke and Boone try to smash in.

The geodesic button dome.

Ruins graffiti- regular paint.

Ruins graffiti 2- ultra violet paint.

Ruin of a ruin- what remains three years after Desmond turned the fail-safe key.

Henry Gale`s Balloon

Because a ruined balloon is cool.

The Black Rock

The first time to see this I was awed. This is the kind of ruin I dream of finding myself. Of course it`s not going to happen like this, but there are similar things. The Black Rock was a slave ship, complete with manacled corpses below decks.

Locke and Sawyer heading to kill Cooper in the Brig.

Nigerian Drug Beechcraft Plane

Another awesome ruin, sucked in by the Island`s magnet power.

It also points the way to the Pearl Observation Hatch.

The Pearl Hatch

A ruin with working lights and televisual equipment is a great find.

This huge stack is very emotive of the ruins feeling- a kind of loneliness. Even while it was functional, the work they were doing inside was being ignored.

The Looking Glass

Charlie dies. Sad. Idea for an underwater hatch though is awesome.

The Orchid

The fifth or sixth hatch in the show (I haven`t included the Flame, the Door, the Caduceus, or the Arrow because they`re unremarkable). After a while Dharma fatigue sets in, and exploring the ruins of their stations gets a bit less exciting. Still, this one is cool, and leads to cooler stuff still (the frozen Donkey Wheel).

The Well beside the Orchid- an alternate route to the Donkey Wheel.

The route Ben takes to the Wheel, through the time-travel room.

Hierogylphs in all these ancient ruins.

The Ruins

Where Ben ties up Cooper, and tells Locke to kill him. Really just one pillar.

The Statue of Taweret

The gradual reveal of the Taweret statue let us feel like we were explorers ourselves, gradually piecing together the whole structure.

Four toes, seen from the sea.

Seen by Locke`s party in season 5.

Seen from the jungle by time-travelling Jin and crew.

In full glory, beginning of season 5.

Jacob`s view up.

The sideways track has it underwater.

The Temple Wall

Built so normal people can`t see the Others` temple. Covered in hieroglyphs and vines. Access to the Temple and to the Cerberus Chamber from here.

Jin freaking out.


Tunnels / The Cerberus Chamber

The home of the smoke monster.

Egyptian God (Taweret?) summons the smoke monster, detail on the chamber wall.

Looking for a bomb.

The Temple

After having this place hinted at since season three, it`s great to finally see it. Awesome new scary jungle music to go with it too. It looks more Mayan than other Egyptian stuff on the island (Taweret and hieroglyphs) led us to expect.

Fountain of Life.

That`s it. Phew, what an adventure.

I thought a while back to put together posts of fantasy ruins- excerpting famous apocalypse movies and TV shows. It takes a long time but is quite fun, so maybe I`ll do some more. If you`d like to see that, let me know.

Many of these images I sourced by going through old episodes and screen-shooting them myself, others I got from Google, and many came from the excellent

See more SF / Fantasy Ruins here:

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See all my real world ‘haikyo/ruin’ explores in Japan here:

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See a curation of curious world ruins here.

Read my stories inspired by ruin here.

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Comments 10

  1. Absolutely AWESOME POST!!! Season 6 is underway and I’m really looking forward to some cooling answers to some burning questions.
    Yes a ruined baloon is cool! lol
    Man, you are making me wanna go back and spend the weekend watching seasons 1-5 again. Almost did last week in preparation for season 6.
    Thanks for the considerable effort you clearly put into this post.

  2. I love this post. i love Lost, and i love ruins, and putting them together is great. I have a fascination with objects and artefacts that never truly existed (from stories, movies, etc.), so this post resonated with me. i hope to see more articles like this.

  3. Good text. I thought about the ruins in Lost myself. Probably it has a lot to do with the fact, that ruins became more and more fashionable. And last not least, since the romantic ruins are a synomym of mystery.
    But we will see how these mysteries will be resolved, may be frustrating.

  4. Post

    Locohama- Thanks, and I can definitely recommend rewatching seasons 1-5. SY and I just did that in that past month. A lot of episodes are skippable though- including almost all of season 4. Nothing much happens in that season that we didn`t already know from season 3 flashforward at the end.

    Fifthdream- I`m so glad you liked it- I`ll probably do some similar posts soon.

    IN Vain- Cheers, and I heard (on the LOST podcast) that they won`t be leaving much unanswered by the end of the show, so hopefully it won`t be too frustrating.

    1. Post
  5. I was hooked for 6 years.

    Agree that the sets of ruins were great.

    The Darhma ruins really added to the whole mystique.

    HOWEVER, I felt that last season, especially the finale was a major let down.
    So many loose strings that it left an unavoidable impression the producers were just making up stuff as they went along. No coherent theme tying the series together.

    btw I dont think you mentioned the place that Locke blew up with dynamite, where they met Mikail.

  6. Pingback: Puncak in Ruins, Part 2: Lost Detour « The AnthroLOLogist

  7. I know I’m way late on this but I figured I would share something with my fellow LOST-lovers. I just had this epiphany about who the smoke monster really was. Actually, not an epiphany but an educated guess after reading a chapter in Graham Hancock’s book called Fingerprints of the Gods. Here we go: The Mayans/Aztecs believed in an evil God named Tezcatilpoca which interestingly enough translates to “Smoking Mirror” and condoned human sacrifices. The smoke monster always looked at people before killing/judging them, as if it were a mirror and it could be summoned below the Mayan Temple, right?! In Aztec/Mayan texts, he was said to judge and watch people from a far and could travel in the shaped/form of smoke, shadows or anything else for that matter. Sounds spot on, right? What do you think?

  8. Loved revisiting all these old locations 10+ years down the road. Sparked a nice conversation with the girlfriend about our LOST memories. Been wanting to re-watch it recently. I still consider it my favorite show of all time.

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