Ancient road provides insight into Chamorro people

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The discovery of pebble-paved floors at archaeological sites provide a glimpse into how the ancient Chamorro people lived. 

Tim Rieth, principal archaeologist with International Archaeological Research Institute Inc., left, explains Archaeological findings to Department of Public Works Deputy Director Carl Dominguez during a briefing at an Archaeological excavation site near the Ylig Bridge, yesterday [Credit: Florence Stair/Pacific Daily News]

“What is so significant, unique and exciting about these pebble pavings is, … for a long time people have speculated that there aren’t enough latte stones to accommodate the large population on Guam and the Northern Marianas Islands. People had to be living in another way,” said Tim Rieth, principal archaeologist of International Archaeologist Research Institute Inc. out of Honolulu, which has an office on Guam. 

He added that there has been evidence of these pavings on a small scale across the Marianas. 

“In this case to have this level of exposure has never been done before on Guam or on the Northern Mariana Islands,” Rieth said. 

He went on to explain that the three pavements were probably part of a larger community that had latte stone sets. 

Rieth made the announcement before guests and government officials yesterday morning near the construction of the replacement for Ylig Bridge yesterday morning. 

Pebble pavings were found one meter below the surface of the ground. The pebble-paved floors were made up of coral and pumice pebbles and deeply packed sand, Rieth said. 

The first archaeological excavations for the new bridge found sparse historical deposits containing pottery, shell and bone food remains, and shell and stone tools. The artifacts are dated in the Latte Period, from about 1000 to 1521. 

The remains are part of an ancient Chamorro village uncovered during construction work of the new Ylig Bridge, according to a press release from Department of Public Works. 

The excavation started in March 2011 but slowed when rainy weather came in July. Only recently have archaeologists been able to see the full details of this site. The archaeological team is now mapping the site and sending samples of soil to have it carbon-dated. 

Source: Guampdn [February 23, 2012]

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