2000-year-old CHamoru remains repatriated
The long-awaited return of a Chamorita ancestor's remains, dating back 2,000 years, has finally taken place.
The ancient remains of a woman from the Tarague area, where a significant archaeological project occurred in 1980-81, were brought back to Guam this weekend.
State Historic Preservation Officer Patrick Lujan personally carried the remains home, marking a deeply emotional and special moment for the community.
Lujan expressed the unique significance of this repatriation, stating,
"Even when I left Guam knowing what the mission was to bring home our ancestors, it was a really different feeling. Very special, I can't even explain it. Just assuring that they're finally gonna come home after 42 years of being in a California lab, now that they're back, what is the proper thing that we're gonna do from here on."
The remains were stored in a California laboratory for the past 42 years after a sample was sent to the UC-Riverside radiocarbon dating lab, where its age was confirmed.
The laboratory, which had been decommissioned two decades ago, housed these ancient artifacts until recent years when college staff members were able to identify the remains as originating from Guam.
The repatriation has deep cultural significance, particularly as the ancestor hailed from the Tarague area, a site where archaeologists dug through nine levels of cultural deposits at a depth of nearly five meters during the 1980-81 archaeological project. This excavation marked the deepest archaeological find in the Marianas to date.
Lujan shared plans for a proper reburial, stating, "Coming from the Tarague area, we're gonna look for a spot to do a proper reburial."