Friday, June 24, 2016


People lived on this beach perhaps 3500 years ago!

Despite the fact that this beach was the scene of a large American invasion in 1944, greatly disturbing the physical environment, archaeologists were able to dig and search and find evidence of human settlement going as far back as 3500 years.

Unai Chulu is a beach in the northwest corner of Tinian.

The signs of human habitation at this beach, going so far back in time, show that our ancestors lived almost anywhere along the coast where dwellings could be built, even if the beach was a small one and the reef close to shore.

Tinian is a rather flat island. This beach area would have been more exposed to the elements as there are no caves and no high cliffs in this area. The people may have have depended more heavily on the sea for food than in other places in the Marianas where land resources would have been more plentiful.

Chulu is not far from a fresh water lake, which is more like marsh land, called Hagoi, which is the Chamorro word for "lake." But the water, at least now, is brackish, though ancient people could have probably strained or boiled it for drinking purposes. Otherwise, people would have collected rain water as a main source of drinking water.

This pottery sherd was found at the House of Taga, south of Chulu. But a unique and more decorated one was found at Chulu.

A unique find at Chulu was a pottery sherd which was decorated on both sides, including the inner part of the bowl or pot. On both inside and outside walls of the pot, a line of impressed circles filled with lime (åfok) can be seen. These decorated sherds are from the earliest period of human settlement in the Marianas.

Cow bones buried in the soil at Chulu point to the cattle ranches that the Spanish government maintained at Tinian in the 1800s for the benefit of Guam.

This map of the US invasion of Tinian in 1944 shows just how vulnerable Chulu Beach was at that time (White Beach 2).

As the US military always has its eye on northern Tinian for military exercises to this day, let's hope our ancestral cultural treasures do not suffer destruction any more!

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