Guam Ancient Village Gone at Marine Base, Official Says

HAGATNA, Guam — The remnants of an ancient village have been removed at the site of a new U.S. Marine Corps base under construction on Guam, preservation officials said.

Guam Preservation Trust board member Dave Lotz said he visited the area Sunday and could not find the site or remnants of the ancient Chamoru village called Magua, the Pacific Daily News reported.

The trust, the U.S. Navy and the National Park Service had announced a proposal in May to create a historic preservation program near the new Marine base, featuring artifacts and information about the site.

Because he had not been informed on the project’s status, Lotz said he decided to check on the site.

“We had an agreement,” Lotz said. “It was something the Navy could do to show they were preserving the culture, but apparently they decided otherwise.”

The military is dedicated to protecting cultural resources, and it has a qualified team that has collaborated with the Guam Preservation Trust, said Lt. Ian McConnaughey, Joint Region Marianas public affairs officer.

“Out of respect to the cultural significance of the displaced (artifacts), the Department of the Navy has recovered these artifacts and carefully placed them in a secure area pending a joint decision on their future interpretive use,” McConnaughey said. “We are working closely with Guam SHPO (State Historic Preservation Office) and GPT to prepare for future consultations regarding the treatment plan for the artifacts that have been recovered.”

Data collected at the site suggests it was not permanently inhabited, but the spot served to process forest products, McConnaughey said. The military has followed federal guidelines for protecting cultural resources, he said.

The site was likely the best remaining interior ancient Chamoru village on the island’s northern limestone plateau area, Lotz said.

“Even though it’s small, every site on the island has its own unique characteristics that add an understanding of what Chamoru life was like before western contact,” Lotz said.

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