On March 01, 2022, an evening lecture was held in the Civic Hall in Ngerbeched, Koror. The lecture was about one of Palau’s hidden treasures, the monumental earthwork terraces of Ochallechutem (Babeldaob). Dr. Annette Kuhlem, an archaeologist from the German Archaeological Institute in Germany, spent nearly 5 months in Palau unearthing the terraces and was sharing her findings from her recent excavations in Aimeliik, Ngatpang, and Ngaraard. Her and her team were able to find ceramics, charcoal, and even a few human remains. It is known that the soils of Babeldaob are very acidic and that any organic material decomposes much more quickly, and so the finds were quite lucky.

The evening lecture was quite successful in that more than 80 people attended the event. The lecture was livestreamed as well and there were about 30 people viewing the lecture that night. Many people asked questions about the terraces, what they were used for, and if they are connected to the Palauans of today. There is no question however, that these earthwork terraces are a feat that only an organized and stratified society can achieve. Palau’s population would have to have been more than what we currently have in order to achieve such monumental features.

The Bureau of Historical and Cultural Preservation would like to thank Dr. Annette Kuhlem and Mr. Christian Hartl-Reiter for their cooperation. We would also like to acknowledge their local partnering agency – Palau Resource Institute and Ms. Julita Tellei for being their local cultural guide. We thank the Palau Visitors Authority for their assistance in decoration and the Belau National Museum for the use of their equipment. Finally, we would like to thank the Bureau of Human Resources – Division of Employment Services for the use of the Civic Center Hall and to Ms. Kiruu N. Kanai for her support and assistance in the livestream of the event.  (press release)

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