House of TAGA Tinian TANK. In Store & Online

February 12, 2020 by  
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Houses of the Ancients

Latte structures are stone archaeological remains unique to the Mariana Islands. A stone pillar supports a hemispherical capstone to form a latte. The ancient CHamorus generally arranged latte in two parallel rows of four or more pairs to support their important rectangular, steep pitched roof, pole and thatch buildings. Communities in coastal areas, river valleys, and a few upland areas, seem to have competed to build larger and larger latte structures. The Spanish missionaries referred to the latte as casa de los antigos or houses of the ancients. Latte have become a significant icon in contemporary Mariana Islands architecture and serve as a symbol of the CHamoru people and their proud past.

Ancient CHamorus used latte as a foundation for wooden with thatch roof structures. Several archaeologists disagree on the date of the earliest latte. Some say that CHamorus built latte as early as B.P. 1200, others think it was not until B.P. 800, but these experts generally agree that CHamorus stopped building traditional latte houses by B.P. 300.

CHamorus inhabited Guam and the Mariana Islands at least 2,800 years before they constructed latte. Many experts regard latte and the cultural complex of tools and pottery associated with them as a natural development of CHamoruo culture. Nevertheless, some are convinced that latte were the work of a conquering people who invaded the Marianas or perhaps another wave of migration.



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