Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Learn about Guam archaeology at lectures

By William B. Martin Jr. • Pacific Daily News • October 22, 2008

The Guam Museum Foundation continues to chip away at a fully realized center to house relics of island history.

The Foundation will begin its presentation of the "Museum Educational Series: Archaeology in Guam" tomorrow at the University of Guam, in a twofold effort to educate islanders on their past and cultivate strong ties to Guam-based archaeologists and anthropologists -- "a range of players," Leona Young, foundation administrator, said.

"These people have studied Guam for decades," she said. "They have a lot of work that the community should know about."

She said the scientists presenting the lectures will assist museum planners in the forthcoming "interpretive design" phase of the facility in which the oral, written and cultural tradition will be compiled to produce accurate exhibits.

The first among the educational series will look at preliminary archaeological findings at the Naton Beach site in Tumon. David DeFant of SWCA Environmental Consultants will present.

The lecture will refer to findings regarding numerous skeletons found beneath a swimming pool when Tumon's Hotel Okura underwent renovations in recent years, DeFant said. The Hotel Okura is now the Guam Aurora Resort Villa and Spa.

Other lectures will follow -- covering topics such as legendary Chamorro strength, maritime archaeology and regional historical fishing practices -- on two dates in November, one in January 2009 and again in February.

Though the presentations are designed for older school-age children and adults, Young said, presentations for Guam's children are possibly forthcoming as well.

Each lecture will cost $20, payable to the Guam Museum Foundation. Young said the money will be considered a donation to the nonprofit foundation for building the museum, and therefore is a nationally recognized tax-deductible expense.

'Crossing our t's'

Though she couldn't provide an actual dollar amount collected so far, Young said the museum is working to accumulate some $25 million to erect the museum -- and getting closer every day.

Many federal and local funding sources have been identified, Young said.

"We can show the community and federal and local government that our business plan is in place," she said. "We're dotting our 'i's' and crossing our 't's."

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