On December 29, 2020 (Tuesday), As part of the ongoing historical sites survey and reconnaissance survey work  of the  Bureau of Cultural and Historical Preservation (BCHP), Ministry of Community & Cultural Affairs (MCCA),  Minister  Baklai Temengil-Chilton hosted a day visit with all the residence Ambassadors in Palau with Ambassador John Hennessey-Niland of the United States of America, Ambassador KARASAWA Akira, Ambassador of Japan, Ambassador Wallace Chow of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and  Ambassador Richelle Turner of Australia to the traditional village of Mariar situated on Ngeruktable region listed in the Palau Register of Historic Places and within the inscribed UNESCO Mixed World Heritage Site, the Rock Island Southern Lagoon.  The day visit  was made possible  with collaborations  support from the Office of the Governor, Koror State Government, Koror State Department of State and Cultural Affairs and Department of Coastal and Law Enforcement (DCLE) including  Koror State Rangers, Coastal Management Team, and Director Sunny Ngirmang of BCHP and MCCA Management Teams.

Mariar is one of five legendary villages located on Ngeruktabel Island, of which three have now been verified archaeologically (Metukruikull and Ngeremdiu, being the other two). The island is dominated by steep, forested limestone ridges, some of which approach 200m height above sea level.

The village of Mariar consists of at least 49 stone platforms or platform-like areas situated partly in two adjacent sandy beach coves (“Big Mariar” and Little Mariar”), but primarily on the hilltops and ridge-tops surrounding these coves. Several specialized architectural features of the village appear to have served defensive function. Both coves contained coralline limestone walls which originally spanned the entire lengths of both coves. Other seeming defensive features include two adjacent stone platforms flanking the southwestern corner of Big Mariar cove, possibly providing protection for the only easy access to a series of stone platforms found upslope.

The purpose of this trip as part of the UNESCO Management plan will help understand not only conserving the rock island  natural resources but to preserve the archaeological features and ancients sites that make the Rock Island Southern Lagoon (RISL) so unique. This mission will help protect and preserve all the Republic’s cultural and historical resources to enhance, enrich, and foster the Palauan heritage now and into the future. To achieve this mission will have four main goals. First, to preserve and foster cultural and historical resources for the benefit of the Palauan people; Second, to preserve and educate the Palauan tradition that are threatened with extinction; Third, to protect cultural and historical resources from destruction; and finally, to preserve culture and tradition in the face of inevitable increasing foreign contact and interaction.

Minister Baklai Temengil-Chilton would like to thank all the Ambassadors for joining this trip as this will help better understand and share our unique culture and tracing our ancestors’ migration movements from settling in the Rock Islands to settling in Babeldaob.

Llecheklel a Orachel Pictograph Cave on Ulong Island

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