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Century-old spring found, restored on Camp Foster

Date Posted: 1998-03-28

Okinawan archaeologists with cooperation from the Marine Corps Base Environmental Branch, recently began excavating a 19th-century spring well on a site located behind the commissary here. The project is expected to take three years to complete.

Chunna-ga spring, which is more than 100 years old, is slated to become a Government of Japan Registered Cultural Asset.

The sight consists of two springs, a pump house, walls and an original cobblestone-style road leading up the hill to Highway 330 and Chunna (Kyuna) village. The springs remained in use as sources of washing, bathing, and drinking water until the sight was destroyed in the Battle of Okinawa, during World War II.

The pump house, which will eventually be moved farther away from the springs themselves during the restoration, still provides water from the wells to residents of the village. It will continue to do so even after the restoration is complete.

Chunna residents enjoy free water for everything but drinking, a rarity among Okinawans. The springs provide free water to more residents than any other spring on island.

The restoration project was initiated by and is paid for by the Japanese government. According to Takeshi Nakamura, archaeologist in charge of the project, the restoration started in January, when finished will be sealed in a fence for its own protection except for the pump house.

"It will be always available for study and sightseeing to anyone who makes a request," said Nakamura.

The Chunna-ga project is not the only archaelogical excavation occurring here. There is a castle sight being studied behind the Human Resource Office as well.

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