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More ancient burials uncovered at project site in Camp Blaz

Updated: Nov 9, 2021

Ancient artifacts were discovered in the ancient village of Magua in 2020. File photo courtesy of the Office of Speaker Therese Terlaje

More ancient burials have been uncovered in North Finegayan, the site of Marine Corps Base Camp Blaz, according to State Historic Preservation Officer Patrick Lujan.

Lujan said the seven most recently uncovered burials account for about 15 individuals in a small area, which is directly adjacent to a spot already marked off for protection of remains previously uncovered in 2019.

"(Work in) this little area was already suspended," Lujan said. "There was to be a parking lot on it for a nearby building. However, we've worked with Camp Blaz to redesign the parking lot to leave this burial space as is with a memorial to come later."

Katherine Koenig, public information officer for joint Region Marianas, said the additional burial sites were discovered at the Sabanan Fadang monument construction area.

"When the burials were discovered construction work stopped and SHPO was consulted in accordance with the Programmatic Agreement," Koenig said. "We have confirmed that we are able to preserve the newly discovered burial remains in place within the proposed monument area. We will resume construction once the burials are fully recorded."

There have been a total of 26 separate areas of human remain findings in Camp Blaz alone, which can be as small as a single bone fragment. Nine identifiable burials, including the seven most recently uncovered, have been found to date.

The new archeological discoveries indicate that the 1,100-sqft area was an important place of ancient burial, Lujan said.

The area has already been agreed upon for "preservation in place," where the remains will not be disinterred. Work is underway to build a solemn memorial to preserve this sacred ground.

The additional burials were encountered by archaeologists during preparatory work for the building of the memorial.

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