Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Father Marcian at Fr Marcian Cave
A recent article in the Marianas Variety reminds us of the existence of ancient Chamorro petroglyphs in Tinian, and the American Capuchin missionary who helped bring them to light.

Archaeologists are working at the moment to photograph and catalog a wide range of cultural treasures unearthed in Tinian for many years.  Tinian had, at one time, a thriving and prominent Chamorro population. The latte stones at the House of Taga, though all but one are toppled, are the tallest in the Marianas, at least that we know about.

In the 1950s, Father Marcian Pellett, a Capuchin priest who came to Guam in 1940 before WW2, was the one and only missionary on Tinian. Among the many things he did, he looked all over Tinian for historic sites and artifacts. He discovered ancient pictures marked on the walls of a cave.  They are very similar to other Chamorro petroglyphs found on Guam and Saipan.

That cave is still called "Father Marcian Cave." He also found, there and in other sites, pottery remains, shell pendants, beads, sinkers and stones possibly used as adzes or knives. Together with archaeologist Alexander Spoehr of the Bishop Museum in Honolulu, he wrote an article about these findings that was published in a scholarly journal in 1961.

A page from Fr Marcian's article detailing some of his findings


Pastor of Tinian (1949-1958; 1968-1970)
Amateur archaeologist and artist

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