The island nation of Palau in the Pacific Ocean is one of our homeschool countries-of-the-week, so why not spend a few minutes today learning about one of Palau’s World Heritage Sites: the Rock Islands Southern Lagoon.
This collection of small islands, south of the main island of Palau, is important to the cultural and natural history of region:
The Rock Islands Southern Lagoon consists of numerous large and small forested limestone islands, scattered within a marine lagoon protected by a barrier reef. The property lies within Koror State, immediately to the south of Palau’s main volcanic island Babeldaob in the western Pacific Ocean.
The marine site covers 100,200 ha and is characterized by coral reefs and a diversity of other marine habitats, as well as 445 coralline limestone islands uplifted due to volcanism and shaped over time by weather, wind and vegetation. This has created an extremely high habitat complexity, including the highest concentration of marine lakes in the world, which continue to yield new species discoveries. The terrestrial environment is lush and at the same time harsh, supporting numerous endemic and endangered species. Although presently uninhabited, the islands were once home to Palauan settlements, and Palauans continue to use the area and its resources for cultural and recreational purposes. This is regulated through a traditional governance system that remains an important part of national identity.
The islands contain a significant set of cultural remains relating to an occupation over some five thousand years that ended in abandonment. Archaeological remains and rock art sites are found in two island clusters – Ulong and Negmelis, and on three islands – Ngeruktabel, Ngeanges, and Chomedokl.
Remains of former human occupation in caves, including rock art and burials, testifies to seasonal human occupation and use of the marine ecosystem, dating back to 3,100 BP and extending over some 2,500 years…. The abandoned islands now provide an exceptional illustration of the way of life of small island communities over more than three millennia and their dependence on marine resources. They also are seen as ancestral realms by the descendants of those who migrated to the main island of Palau and this link is kept alive through oral traditions. (UNESCO World Heritage Centre #1386)
You can find a gallery of additional photos of the Rock Islands Southern Lagoon on the World Heritage Centre’s website.
World Heritage Sites are cultural or natural landmarks of international significance, selected for recognition by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. More than 1000 such sites have been recognized in over 160 countries, and we feature one every Wednesday, drawn from one of our homeschool countries-of-the-week. You can find a complete list of World Heritage Sites online at the World Heritage Centre and in Wikipedia.
The World Heritage Centre also has a free and comprehensive World Heritage education kit for teachers, as well as a wonderful full-color wall map of World Heritage Sites, available for the cost of shipping. Why not add them both to your own homeschool library. 🗺
What world treasures have you been exploring in your homeschool this Leo Term? 😊
❡ Books in the running brooks: You can always turn to your River Houses almanac, atlas, and history encyclopedia for more information about any of our countries-of-the-week. The almanac has profiles of all the nations of the world on pages 752–859; the endpapers of the atlas are indexes that will show you where all of the individual national and regional maps may be found; the history encyclopedia includes national histories on pages 489–599; and you can find additional illustrations, flags, and other mentions through the indexes in each of these volumes. For an ideal little lesson, just write the name of the Weekly World Heritage Site on your homeschool bulletin board, find its location in your atlas, read the WHC’s brief description aloud, look at a picture or two, and you’re done. Over the course of the year, without even realizing it, your students will absorb a wealth of new historical, geographical, and cultural information. 🇵🇼
❡ The great globe itself: This is one of our regular Homeschool States & Countries posts featuring historical and natural sites of international importance. Download a copy of our River Houses World Heritage Calendar and follow along with us as we tour the planet, and add your name to our weekly mailing list to get great homeschool teaching ideas delivered right to your mailbox all through the year. 🌏