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Guam Marine Corps base construction halted after artifacts discovered

HAGATNA, Guam — Construction work stopped in part of the new U.S. Marine Corps base on Guam after artifacts were discovered.

A contracted archaeologist identified the artifacts last week, finding prehistoric items and items from the late 1800s, the Pacific Daily News reported.

The military has proposed to careful excavation of the items, which include rock tools and pottery fragments, said Al Borja, environmental director for Marine Corps Activity Guam.

The military has as a duty to curate the items, meaning they will be placed in an approved facility after they are collected and studied, Borja said.

The area where construction was halted represents only a small portion of the overall project, said Kelly Rodriguez, a spokeswoman for Marine Corps Activity Guam. Construction in that area will resume when the archaeological investigation is completed.

The military contracts an archaeologist to monitor construction work and ground disturbance, Borja said.

Marines load a diver propulsion device into a combat rubber raiding craft Sept. 20 at U.S. Naval Base Guam during Exercise Valiant Shield 2014. The DPDs will aid the Marines conduct night infiltration, in which Marines will quietly come ashore once night falls. Valiant Shield is a U.S.-only exercise integrating Navy, Air Force, Army, and Marine Corps assets, offering real-world joint operational experience to develop capabilities that provide a full range of options to defend U.S. interests and those of its allies and partners. The Marines are reconnaissance men with 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Lena Wakayama/Released)
2,500 Marines to move to proposed base in Guam by 2021

About 2,500 Marines are expected to move to a proposed Marine Corps base in Guam in 2021, said Cmdr. Daniel Schaan, director of the Joint Guam Program Office Forward, which coordinates the relocation.

A cultural repository is currently under construction at the University of Guam. The repository will store the artifacts found as the new base in Dededo is built.

The military will take comments from Guam officials and adjust plans for the artifacts as necessary, Borja said.

“The Department of the Navy respects the rich cultural heritage of Guam and remains committed to the cultural and historical preservation of the island,” Marine Corps Activity Guam said in the statement.

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