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Yapease Quarry Sites

Date of Submission: 26/08/2004
Criteria: (i)(ii)(iii)
Category: Cultural
Submitted by:
Rita OlsudongArchaeologist, Palau HPOP.O. Box 100Koror Palau 96940
Coordinates: Chelechol ra Orrak - N 7°21’1.1"/ E 134°33’52.8"Uet el Daob ma Uet el Beluu - N 7°20’54.47" / 134°34’0.09" E
Ref.: 1932
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Description

The Yapese Disk Money Regional Sites involved two countries, Republic of Palau and Federated States od Micronesia. In Palau two sites namely Uet el Daob ma Uet el Beluu and Chelechol ra Orrak in a Rock Island in Airai State was where the oval/round disk money were quarried by the Yapese before they were transported back to Yap. In Yap State two sites namely Mangyol Stone Money Bank and O'Keefe Island have been nominated. Yapese people traveled across the 400 km of open water to Palau limestone Rock Islands where they quarried their megalithic disk money. The Yapese earned the right to quarry their disks money by bartering or exchanging exotic materials and forming alliances with villages in Palau with rights to particular Rock Islands. Uet el Daob ma Uet el Beluu and Chelechol ra Orrak are two of the best examples of this type of site in existence. These are located on a Rock Island located south of the largest landmass in Palau. Combining both sites they cover a total area of 22,828 m². Uet el Daob ma Uet el Beluu is located in the interior of the Rock Island between two marine lakes. Chelechol ra Orrak contains series of caves behind a beach along the west coast of the Rock Island. Both sites contain best examples of activities associated with quarrying of largest money in world including rock shelters, caves, complete and unfinish disk money, human remains, burials, rock alignments, retaining walls, shell middens, docks, flake debitage and artifacts. An archaeological excavations in one of the caves at Chelechol ra Orrak in the summer of 2000, unearthed human burials dating to more than 3000 years ago. These are the earliest human burials found in the Pacific Islands outside of the Melanesia. Uet el Daob ma Uet el Beluu is located in a gorge in the interior of the Rock Island between two marine lakes surrounded by extremely steep, rough, and jagged cliff sides covered with dense forest. Between the two sites a human endurance, genius and perseverance of the people of the Pacific in prehistory time is demonstrated.