A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to document and inventory a portion of the Aimeliik State’s monumental earthworks, the ouballang (terraces), was executed last Friday, October 20, 2023, marking the start of the project.
The project’s objectives include preserving the “legacy of Palau’s earthwork landscape for future generations by increasing the cultural, social, and economic value of this significant cultural heritage and to inform preservation management decisions and development planning.”
The objectives will be accomplished through remote sensing equipment, archeological fieldwork, and oral history.
The MOU states that the project “will build local capacity, support economic growth, empower stakeholders, and steward cultural resources within the framework that intertwines tangible and intangible cultural heritage.”
“We are excited about the project. It will benefit our tourism program and provide our staff with training and materials to promote to our visitors,” said Governor Browny Simer of the project.
Signing the MOU were Governor Browny Simer of Aimeliik State, Dr. Jolie Liston of Palau Heritage Consulting, Dr. Pat Colin of the Coral Reef Research Foundation, and Meked Besebes of Meked Besebes Research and Consulting, witnessed by His Excellency Ambassador Joel Ehrendreich of the United States to Palau. Grant funding for the project comes from the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation.
Aimeliik State features some of Palau’s monumental earthworks, man-made and altered landscapes that are of monumental proportions. The structures were estimated to have been constructed over 2000 years ago by ancestors of Palauans today. Previous archeological surveys have found burials on top of the crowns of huge terraced hills.