The Islands of Micronesia
Micronesia is a subregion of Oceania, comprising thousands of small islands in the western Pacific. There are approximately 2,100 islands in Micronesia, divided into four main island groups; the Caroline Islands, the Gilbert Islands, the Mariana Islands and the Marshall Islands. The largest island in the whole Micronesia is Guam.
The Micronesian islands were settled several millennia ago, although it is unsure just how far back this was. The earliest recorded contact with Europeans came in 1521, when Ferdinand Magellan reached the Marianas. Over the centuries, the islands have been occupied, colonised, and ruled by multiple different powers. They played a significant part in World War Two, when they were occupied by the Japanese for over two years, and were subject to brutal fighting by the USA forces for their recapture in 1944. Most of the Micronesian islands are now independant states, with the exception of Guam, Wake Island and Saipan, which are US territories, as well as the Northern Mariana Islands which are part of the US Commonwealth.
As a result of many maritime, land and air battles around the island of Guam, many remains of WW2 ships and aircrafts can be found beneath the waters. The Guam Preservation Trust (GPT) identified maritime archaeology as an important focal topic in helping to reveal Guam's maritime and underwater cultural heritage. They were keen to introduce students to this topic, so that they could apply and use this knowledge and techniques in their studies and future employment.
CIE in cooperation with the local partners set up and implemented a maritime project which would provide training in maritime archaeology field techniques for a select group of students in Guam. At the moment, CIE's main work has been focused in and around the island of Guam in particular, and our main activities have been centred around maritime archaeology under our core themes of: