HAGATNA, Guam — The Historic Preservation Office in Guam has confirmed four burial sites disturbed during construction on a U.S. Marine Corps base are 1,000 years old.
The human remains found at the sites earlier this year belong to members of Guam’s indigenous Chamorro people, Pacific Daily News reported.
The plots were discovered at Camp Blaz, a new Marine Corps base under construction in Dededo.
Camp Blaz will soon be the home of nearly 5,000 Marines of III Marine Expeditionary Force, currently based on Okinawa, Japan.
Archaeologists are expected to produce a report with further details about the plots that contain the skeletons of four people.
“We are very, very interested and excited to see the outcome of that report once it is finalized,” Guam Preservation Officer Patrick Lujan said. “It definitely has changed the dynamics and structure of Guam’s northern plateau and what we thought it was.”
The four burial plots were reburied after the discovery and will have a monument dedicated to them on the base, Lujan told a Guam Legislature oversight hearing Tuesday.
The monuments in English and Chamorro will attempt to provide historical context to the burial site on the base.
There will also be a visitors center outside the camp’s main gate to showcase some of the artifacts removed from the site, Lujan said.
Lujan requested a delay in construction of a military gun range until another survey of the area seeking cultural sites is completed.
The Historic Preservation Office is trying to avoid destruction of burials or artifacts by military construction, archaeologist John Mark Joseph said.
“The community is watching, and the community wants to know if it’s done right, and we’re watching, and we want to know if it’s done right,” Joseph said.
The construction is part of a realignment of U.S. military forces in the Asia-Pacific region in which up to 5,000 Marines from Okinawa and other locations will transfer to Camp Blaz.