Ancient remains unearthed at Ylig Bridge - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Ancient remains unearthed at Ylig Bridge

by Nick Delgado

Guam - A major discovery has been made in the central village of Yona, as construction workers handling the Ylig Bridge project uncovered a piece of the island's history. Officials say ancient human remains were found during excavation efforts at the project site.

Public Works issued a stop work order after ancient remains were unearthed at the Ylig Bridge Replacement Project in Yona this week. "This one here has been hold up for a while until the archaeologist will decide go ahead and continue the excavation then that's when we will continue," said Dado Dantes.

Dantes, the site superintendent, says his team is in charge of constructing the temporary Ylig Bridge in Yona. He says the project will take about three months before they can begin work on a new permanent bridge. Dantes says it was early Wednesday morning when his staff was excavating north of the bridge for the sedimentation basin, and not long after the discovery was made.

Sandy Yee with International Archeological Research on Guam says the operator of the backhoe made the find. "It had gone through several layers of old road fill and sand deposit and we suddenly came across a burial so because it would be damaged by the road construction we have recorded where it is," she said. "As soon as we find one it's usually a big caution sign, so we were cautious and that's why we found this one before the backhoe damaged it but it means we're gong to be doubly vigilant for the rest of the excavation."

The Ylig Bridge construction is part of the road to the new landfill site in Layon, however, DPW says this finding does not impede road access. Archaeologists say that the discovery is from the latte period around the 1200 AD, give or take 100 years, they say that they will now analyze the remains before reburying it at another site.

Yee says they collecting data and estimates it should take about three days to remove the remains from the site depending on the weather conditions. "The burials were within the village so its not just a cemetery it's the whole extent of the village site and at this point we are going to say its from rivers edge up the cliff. We know that several hundred meters back there was a center from a large village site and it continues," she continued.

Yee says they have to determine if more remains are in the area, as they have found multiple burial sites at other construction sites. The Guam State Historic Preservation Office has a memorandum of agreement with DPW when it comes to their involvement with these ancient discoveries. Yee says they also found ancient pottery, and pearls carved as fish hooks. Items she says will be handed over to the Guam Museum for curation.

She says their analyses make take about another week to conduct. "Skeletal specialists will come in and look at the bones and just by measuring them tell age, sex, if they had certain illness in their life, broken bones things like that; how strong they were, we can see some of the muscle attachments and know some of them, especially pre-Spanish time were very strong," she said.

Late this afternoon, DPW stated that the remains will be re-interred in a memorial that will be constructed at the Yona site and a proper ceremony will be held for the ancient remains.

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