Signature CHamoru weapon
The signature weapon of the ancient Chamorro/CHamoru warrior, slingstones of various sizes were sharpened at both ends and hurled from a sling with deadly force in combative times. Slingstones were also used for hunting birds.
These stones, called åcho’ atupat in the indigenous language of CHamoru, were fashioned from either limestone, basalt, or fire-hardened clay and were hung from slings of made of pandanus or coconut fiber, the latter being far more durable.
The most notable aspect of these oval-shaped stones were that ancient CHamorus used them with deadly accuracy as documented in historical texts. Though commonly associated with weaponry of the Latte period, these stones were used in early colonial history as the arms of resistance to Spanish colonization, hurled at the harbingers of that particular destruction. A prized art of warfare, the knowledge of how to fashion and hurl these stones was kept in the men’s domain and was passed down from older to younger males, most likely from father to son, or mother’s oldest brother to son.
Today, the slingstone shape is part of the design of the official Guam flag and seal and is incorporated into architectural designs. Like the latte the slingstone is a cultural icon used in Guam’s contemporary pop culture (in tattoo and clothing designs) to exhibit CHamoru pride and cultural identity.
Åcho’ atupat (slingstone) video demonstration
Featuring Al Lizama
For further reading
Freycinet, Louis Claude Desaulses de. An Account of the Corvette L’Uraine’s Sojourn at the Mariana Islands, 1819. Translated by Glynn Barratt. Saipan: Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Division of Historic Preservation, 2003.
Russell, Scott. Tiempon I Manmofo’na: Ancient Chamorro Culture and History of the Northern Mariana Islands. Saipan: Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Division of Historic Preservation, 1998.