Archaeologist: More surveys to be done at Ritidian Site


Visiting archaeologist Dr. Mike T. Carson said more surveys would be needed to further study the remains at the Ritidian Site in Guam’s northernmost point. Ritidian Point is part of Guam’s National Wildlife Refuge and is under the administration of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Carson was on Saipan last week where he shared his findings at the Ritidian Site in an almost two-hour lecture sponsored by the Northern Marianas Humanities Council at the Pacific Islands Club Saipan’s Charley’s Cabaret.

The National Endowment of the Humanities funded Carson’s visit to Saipan, which is part of NMHC’s Community Lecture Series.

Carson and Brian Leon Guerrero, a GNWR maintenance worker, “rediscovered” the site a few years ago while exploring a cave in the area. Hans Horbostel, employed by Hawaii’s Bernice P. Bishop Museum, first discovered and collected remains at the site almost 100 years ago.

“Even now, after several years of intensive research, we need to conduct more surveys of some of the areas where we have not yet checked carefully,” Carson said in an email to the Saipan Tribune.

Carson added that local informants in Guam knew very well of the latte stones and other remains in some caves in the site even before Hornbostel conducted the first survey.

“The Ritidian Site was known for its latte structures and caves for a very long time, but a detailed archaeological study was not performed until recently,” said Carson.

He added that Hornbostel did not conduct a thorough inventory of the remains at the Ritidian Site and failed to document the artworks of ancient Chamorros inside the limestone caves in Guam’s northernmost point.

“Over the last several years, archaeological research has been very intensive, not only to document the surface-visible latte and caves, but also to explore the much older site layers buried deep beneath the present-day ground surface,” Carson said.

Carson is an associate professor of archaeology at the Richard F. Taitano Micronesian Area Research Center in the University of Guam and also in the faculty of the Australian National University in Canberra.

He and his wife, Dr. Hsiao-chun Hung has published many books and works like “The First Settlement of Remote Oceania: The Philippines to the Marianas” that became a part of the academic journal Antiquity, which is published by the Cambridge University Press.

“First Settlement of Remote Oceania: Earliest Sites in the Mariana Islands” is a book recently published by Springer New York.

Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez began his writing career as a sports reporter in the Philippines where he has covered local and international events. He became a news writer when he joined media network ABS-CBN. He joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, while in college.

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