Pre Contact Shell Necklace

This is an ancient Chamorro shell necklace bead called ålas or salape found on a beach in Saipan. This dates back to pre-contact also called pre-Spanish times which was before the year 1668. Once the Spanish arrived all Chamorros were converted to Christianity and Western clothing and jewelry was mandatory. Overnight the Spanish erased the ancient tradition. I am surprised that these artifacts can still be found on the beach 350 to 3,000 years later. These beads were also used as currency and a sign of one's wealth or status. Luckily all artifacts in Saipan are protected.
Back: Pre Contact 1500 BC-1521 AD

1 comment:

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I have lived in Saipan since 1996 and enjoy learning about the amazing history of this island. This is a collection photographs that I believe to be public domain. If you have rights to a photograph on this website and wish for me to remove it or if you would like to add a photograph to the collection, please let me know. Thank you.