Monday, June 25, 2018
DYNAMITING LATTE STONES
In 1919, the Naval Government of Guam was building a new road from Hagåtña to Yoña . As the road crew ascended the hill past the Pågo River, they came upon eight latte stones. Only three of them were still standing erect; five of them lay on the earth. Some of them stood in the way of the planned road. Finding the pillars too heavy to be moved, what do you think they decided to do?
Yes, that's right. Blow them up with dynamite! Five or more centuries old. Just blow them up.
The American foreman, a Mr. Bell, set off the first explosion. Seconds later, his sleeve was ripped by flying pieces of rock.
Bell's Chamorro assistants saw this and told him they'd have no more part in blowing up latte stones. If Bell wanted them removed, he'd have to blow them up himself. Those flying slivers of rock were enough to convince the Chamorro workers that Americans had no guarantee of being immune to the revenge of the spirits. The workers knew that latte stones meant both graves and homes, for traces of both were usually found where latte stones were found. "The owner of this house is angry with us," the Chamorro workers said, "and they will manage to kill us all."
The explosions and road work eventually revealed a gold mine of historic remains. Male and female skeletons in abundance, sling stones, potsherds, a broken pestle, a polishing stone, adzes and scrapers. The bodies had been buried face down, their feet pointing east. The biggest skull had a large rock on top of it. Why was it there?
I don't know what became of the standing latte stones, the bones and the artifacts. I'm not even sure of the exact location of the site. It would sure be nice to have those answers, so we could possibly go back and see how we can undo some of the damage done by dynamite and steamrollers.
Source : The Guam News Letter