Latte edifices of the Pacific archipelago of Islas Mariana and the flying proa canoes are legacies of the Chamorro people whose origins have been chronicled and traced through seafaring paths of migration from the Pacific coasts of Southeast Asia and a number of islands enroute to the shores of the Mariana archipelago. The paths that lead them to the Islas Mariana, most recently were based on linguistic variations of the Austronesian languages, pottery evolution and matrilinial inherited mitochondria mtDNA analysis which hint of the sea route passages of peoples in Asia and the Pacific.

This narrative is about a journey by Dr. Hiro Kurashina (Richard Flores Taitano Micronesian Area Research Center Director Univ of Guam), an archeologist who while studying the pyramid sculpted terraced hill of the Main Island of Babeldaob Belau, concluded that the dimensions of the Belau pyramid matched those of the Borobudur Pyramid on the Indonesian Island of Java. On the Pacific Island of Belau, 'Babel' means above or north or "top of" while 'daob' means ocean.

Borobudur is a massive monument to Buddism built around A.D. 760 and completed by A.D.830. The Javanese themselves are descended from seafarers who left the south China coast and ventured across the Great Oceans south and east of the Asian mainland 6000 years ago. Borobudur is a series of concentric terraces of decreasing size that rise like steps to a central peak. There are 1460 carved stone bas-relief panels covering 1900 square meters. In a surprising revelation, images similar to the latte stone edificies and the proa have been carved on those panels. Dr. Hiro Kurashina theorized that the latte stone panels document a journey to the Marianas. Borobudur was built around the earliest carbon dating of deposits associated with the oldest latte sites.

Latte and Proa-like Reliefs in Borobudur pyramid of Java. Click to enlarge.

location of borobudur arial view of borobudur pyramid mail overhead view of pyramid topology map of pyramid layout
latte stone supporting javanese house with bird ocean traveling proa of Southeast Asia unbroken slab relief of latte and proa Indonesian lateen sail proa

Click photos above to see enlarged proas (boats) and latte stones supporting a house. The relief panels illustrates house construction around the 8th century which experts say correspond closer to houses in other parts of Indonesia than to houses on Java. It is set on pillars and the roof employs the stressed ridge beams like houses in ancient West Sumatra {Indonesia}. It also resembles the pedestal supports of the latte stone of the Marianas. It is not our intention to draw an association between Guam and Indonesia ... despite the similarities in ancient house construction.

Ancient Indonesian ships are equipped with outriggers, like traditional Southeast Asian craft, and has several sails. The ships are physically similar to the ocean-voyaging "Flying Proa" canoes called the Sakman of the Marianas Isles whose Lateen (upsidedown triangular) sails made them hydrodynamically swifter than the Spanish Galleons. Dr. Vicente Diaz points out that the Carolinian outriggers are characterized by 2 arms supporting a side float --- the rightmost photo shows an outrigger with 3 arms supporting a float similar to Guam's sakman.

Magellan first described the Pacific Island of Guam as Isla de las velas latinas (Island of the latteen sails) his first impression in seeing the swiftness and agility of the graceful flying proas which ran closer to the wind than any other vessel ever seen. Their streamlined shape was unique in that there was no difference beteeen stern and aft ends of the craft.

This, in conjunction with their unique outrigger systems allowed speeds in excess of 20 mph. This design and velocity was unheard of in the world at the time of their discovery by the Europeans. William Dampier, the English Explorer, marveled in 1686, at the ingenuity of the Chamorros in their handling of the proa. "The native Indians are no less dexterous in managing than in building these boats ... they will go from hence to another of the Ladrone islands about 30 leagues (90 miles) off, and there do their business, and return again in less than 12 hours."

Commonalities of ship building features are presented to compare to the photos below. Again, it is beyond the scope of this webpage to draw a causal relationship so none will be proffered. Thank you Dr. Hiro Kurashina for sharing your journey and to Carmen Garrido Santos also for resource support.

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Ancient Latte Stones of the Marianas and Proa Canoes. Click to Enlarge.

Lithograph of Latte Site in Spanish Era Lithograph of massive Latte Stones in Marianas more ancient latte sites
Guam Ocean Voyaging Proas in Spanish Era Ancient Guam Map Surviving Taga Latte damaged by WWII

The lithographs above illustrate ancient lattes in the Marianas most Particularly the Taga Latte Site in Tinian. For samples of Guam Latte, click here.

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LINKS: indonesian bone daggar similar to guams
Indonesian Bone Daggar
at Hagåtna Basilica Museum
identical to ancient
Chamorro spear point tips.