Sites & cities that bear the name of Rota Latte Stone Quarry

Rota Latte Stone Quarry

Today in : Northern Mariana Islands
First trace of activity : ca. 30th century B.C.E
Last trace of activity : ca. 9th century C.E
Recorded names : As Nieves quarry

Description : Rota Latte Stone Quarry, also known as the As Nieves quarry, is located near the Chamorro village of Sinapalo, on the island of Rota in the Marianas Archipelago. The prehistoric megaliths found there are believed to have been used as foundation pillars for houses, with some of them weighing up to 35 tons. Their exact age, origin, methods of quarrying and means of transportation have not been determined. A latte stone pillar (also called a taga stone) is a two-piece structure consisting of a base (haligi) and hemispherical cap (tasa), with the flat side turned upwards. It is believed that the prehistoric latte stone pillars were used as housing foundations for the indigenous culture of the Marianas. The homes sat on top of two parallel rows of the pillars, and the Chamorro, or their ancestors, buried their dead between the rows. The stones pre-date any retained oral history of the Chamorro, who cite the original source of the stones as the "taotaomona" (before time people). The exact age of the stones has not been determined, but some are believed to date back to at least 845 AD. Carbon dating places the indigenous population as far back as 3,000 BC.

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