HPO discussion next step for BSI on interment of remains


After holding public meetings with the community, interment plans of the unearthed remains on Best Sunshine International, Ltd.’s site in Garapan will be discussed with the Historic Preservation Office.

According to BSI legal counsel Viola Alepuyo, they will give the information they have gathered to the said agency.

“The next step will be to submit all the recordings and sign-up sheets for the public hearings to the HPO. Thereafter, we will begin discussions on the various suggestions for the internment site,” Alepuyo said.

Although not required, BSI held two public meetings last Feb. 23 and 24 at the Pedro P. Tenorio Multi-Purpose Center in Susupe and Chacha Ocean View Middle School in Kagman to discuss options and present to the public the findings of the project.

“We felt that this project was so important to the community, the community members deserved to hear about what was found directly from Dr. [Michael] Dega,” Alepuyo said.

BSI was able to gather from those who attended the meetings that the location where the remains should be re-buried is where BSI’s Grand Mariana Casino & Hotel Resort will soon rise.

“The majority of the people agreed that the internment site should be at the Grand Mariana site, however, there was still disagreement as to the exact location,” Alepuyo said.

“This will ultimately be HPO’s decision,” she added.

According to Alepuyo, BSI is required to complete the project by August 2017 pursuant to their public land lease.

“The company feels that our construction is on schedule to meet the deadline,” Alepuyo said.

Scientific Consultant Services principal investigator Michael Dega, who worked with BSI on the project, touted as “the largest data recovery project ever in Saipan,” has already submitted a 270-page preliminary draft to HPO after about four months of digging and data recovery with 12 archeologists.

The site, which was called Anaguan, is an ancient village and burial site as early as 1300 A.D., and had two main layers: a cultural layer where people used to live and a burial layer.

Aside from a total to 416 MNIs or minimum numbers of individuals found, sling stones, fish hooks, jewelry, pottery, bone spears, stone and shell tools, basalt axes, and lusongs are just some of the materials they found.

They also found an overturned 3-foot ceramic bowl, which when lifted turned out to be covering the remains of a 3-year old child. The bowl was said to be the “largest ceramic bowl ever found intact.” They also found the remains of an American G.I. from World War II that was found to be of European decent.

There were no findings of pre-latte period artifacts as well as evidence of the site being a former Spanish settlement.

Frauleine S. Villanueva-Dizon | Reporter
Frauleine Michelle S. Villanueva was a broadcast news producer in the Philippines before moving to the CNMI to pursue becoming a print journalist. She is interested in weather and environmental reporting but is an all-around writer. She graduated cum laude from the University of Santo Tomas with a degree in Journalism and was a sportswriter in the student publication.

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