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House of Taga
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  • States:
    Northern Mariana Islands

In ancient times, these fallen standing stones supported a massive structure.

Located on the tiny island of Tinian, part of the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the megalithic site known as the House of Taga was once an impressive collection of standing stones, all but one of which is now fallen. At the time of their construction, the limestone pillars at the House of Taga would have stood around 4.6 meters tall, each topped with a hemispherical stone. These are thought to have acted as the main supports for a structure made of wood and straw, which would have helped protect the home from floods and wildlife.

The fallen foundations of a legend

The site gets its name from the local legend that surrounds the ancient stones. In the more realistic version of the tale, Chief Taga started a quarry from which the stones were mined, building the structure for his love, a woman from the island of Rota. In the more elaborate version of the tale, Taga actually picked up the massive stone pillars and put them in place by hand. Both versions are probably only partially true, but the ruins that remain are absolutely real.

How these massive stones were quarried, transported and set in place by the ancient Chamorros remains a mystery. It is thought that earthquakes felled most of the stones, and today only one of the original 15 still stands tall. Visitors can pay a visit to the mythical chieftain’s ruins, although it is not advisable that anyone attempt to lift the stones themselves.

Know Before You Go

The House of Taga is located in San Jose Village: east of Kammer Beach, west of the dock.

Content originally created for Atlas Obscura.

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