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Ref ID: 22443
Ref Type: Book Section
Authors: Stodder, Ann L. W.
Ryan, Elisa Melanie
Hunter-Anderson, Rosalind L.
Douglas, Michele Toomay
Rona Ikehara-Quebral,
Title: Under the Latte: osteobiography and social context of a burial assemblage at Tumon Bay, Guam
Date: 2015
Source: The Routledge handbook of bioarchaeology in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands
Place of Publication: Oxon, UK
New York
Publisher: Routledge
Abstract: The title of this chapter, “Under the Latte,” does not refer to caffeinated beverages, but to the location of human burials associated with megalithic features built by the late prehistoric and early historic Chamorro people of the Mariana Islands in Western Micronesia (Figure 17.1, Chapter 17). Latte (lat’te, latde) is the Chamorro term for the distinctive pillar-and-capstone architecture unique to the Marianas. Archaeologically defined, a latte set consists of two parallel rows of pillars (haligi in Chamorro) and corresponding hemispheric capstones (tasa in Chamorro) placed 3 to 4 m apart. An intact set consisted of six, eight, twelve, or, rarely, fourteen pillars. First interpreted by American investigators as monuments to the dead where cannibalistic rituals took place (Gill 1924; Searles 1927; Hornbostel n.d.), latte sets are now thought by scholars to have been foundations for houses of various sizes and functions. Figure 24.1 shows an artist’s reconstruction of a small latte house in which three pairs of pillars and capstones hold the foundation for a wood and thatch superstructure. Larger latte structures are thought to have supported men’s houses, women’s houses, canoe sheds, and other special activity areas (Thompson 1940; Laguana et al. 2012). Burials were placed under latte structures, sometimes beneath a coral pavement, in the space between the latte sets, as well as in front of and behind these structures. Spain claimed possession of the Marianas in 1565 ce and initiated formal colonization in 1668. Latte were still in use during the early occupation, but by 1700 ce, the government policy of reducción had eliminated the indigenous settlement system (Rogers 1995) and latte were considered spiritually dangerous, no-go places by the newly converted Catholic Chamorro.
Date Created: 2/22/2016
Editors: Oxenham, Marc
Buckley, Hallie R.
Page Start: 527
Page End: 568