Pago Bay Resort site was once ancient settlement
by Clynt Ridgell, KUAM News
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
If you've driven by a specific Pago Bay clearing right below the Yona Overlook, you've probably been wondering what's going on with all the clearing. The development work being done is the site of a future housing development that was once an ancient settlement.
All of the jungle was cleared by hand - the reason the owner of Sunny Wholesale, Fong Woo, purchased this property and is now looking to develop it as a single family housing subdivision. But before it's developed they've contracted the services of the Micronesian Area Research Center to conduct an archeological survey, and what they've found is rather interesting.
MARC director and archaeologist Dr. John Peterson explained, "We find a village here, which extends all the way along this ridge parallel to the sea; at least here on the top there's some pottery and burned rock and other remains showing that people where living here with some density. So far Peterson say he and his team thinks it was a rather dense settlement used for at least a thousand years before the Spaniards arrived. Peterson says this ancient Chamorro village probably goes back to the Pre-Latte Period.
"Just a few centimeters below the surface we're finding Marianas redware pottery, which is indication that people were living here maybe as long ago as 2,000-3,000 years ago," he added.
Dr. Mike Carson is another archeologist who's working the site. He pointed out an interesting cave that remains to be explored, noting, "This cave is a little unusual - it has two entrances to it. Inside we see evidence of quite a lot of sediment accumulation." The good thing about the dirt and sediment that has accumulated inside the cave is that it's actually preserved whatever maybe left underneath. Although they haven't found any cave art, it's possible that they could be hidden behind all this dirt and debris. "There's a chamber on the side and there's another chamber [in the] back...these are the prime places where people would go to take shelter to be most protected from the elements," said Carson.
Dr. Carson showed us some recently set coconut crab traps showing the fertility of the land here, saying, "And we may yet find evidence of how long that tradition has occurred here." Dr. Peterson believes the ancient Chamorros probably lived in the area before during and after the latte period when the Spaniards arrived. "This is really a good spot right next to the river great breeze here<' he said, "It's a good locality for settling."
Not only was it a good place to settle in the past it's evidently going to be a settlement of the future. Pago Bay Resort general operations manager John Tarantino, saying, "What we're trying to do is create a resort community, not just a place to live, you know, an environment." To accomplish this, they'll be putting in private roads underground power cable sewer and water for 88 lots to be sold to people interested in building high-end, single-family homes in a gated community. Added Tarantino, "What we're trying to achieve here is to maximize what Pago Bays potential is with regards to a natural environment to live in."
Tarantino says the idea was to impact the land as little as possible. This is why they've contracted marc for an archeological survey and also why Tarantino says they've going through all the necessary steps and getting all the necessary permits before developing. "When this lot is delivered to whomever buys it, it comes free and clear of any questions or archaeological environmental ownership. The whole idea here is peace of mind," he said.