Skip to comments.Major Archaeological Find In Puerto Rico
Posted on 10/28/2007 2:01:40 PM PDT by blam
Major Archaeological Find in Puerto Rico
Published: 10/28/07, 4:25 PM EDT
By LAURA N. PEREZ SANCHEZ
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) - U.S. and Puerto Rican archaeologists say they have found the best-preserved pre-Columbian site in the Caribbean, which could shed light on virtually every aspect of Indian life in the region, from sacred rituals to eating habits.
The archaeologists believe the site in southern Puerto Rico may have belonged to the Taino or pre-Taino people that inhabited the island before European colonization, although other tribes are a possibility. It contains stones etched with ancient petroglyphs that form a large plaza measuring some 130 feet by 160 feet, which could have been used for ball games or ceremonial rites, said Aida Belen Rivera, director of the Puerto Rican Historic Conservation office.
The petroglyphs include the carving of a human figure with masculine features and frog legs.
Archaeologists also uncovered several graves with bodies buried face-down with the legs bent at the knees - a style never seen before in the region.
The plaza may contain other artifacts dating from 600 A.D. to 1500 A.D., including piles of refuse from daily life, Rivera said.
"I have visited many sites and have never seen a plaza of that magnitude and of those dimensions and with such elaborate petroglyphs," said Miguel Rodriguez, member of the government's archaeological council and director of a graduate school in Puerto Rico that specializes in history and humanities. He is not involved in the excavation project.
Archeologists have known since 1985 that the area contained indigenous artifacts. But their extent and significance only became clear this month when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began work on removing them so the land could be used for a dam project.
Experts called for a halt to the excavation, saying the use of heavy machinery exposed the stones to the elements and may have destroyed important artifacts. The Corps of Engineers has said the site will be preserved.
The Tainos were a subgroup of the Arawak Indians, who migrated to the Caribbean from Mexico's Yucatan centuries before European colonizers arrived.
Jose Oliver, a Latin American archaeology lecturer at University College London, said that archeologists make discoveries of this significance every 50 or 100 years - if they are lucky.
"I'm convinced that a competent investigation of that site will offer us a rare perspective on our pre-Columbian and pre-colonial history," Oliver, who has overseen several high-profile digs in Puerto Rico, said by e-mail.
But he warned that the contractor in charge of the excavation is not equipped to handle such a massive and complex job.
The lead investigator for Georgia-based New South Associates, the archaeological and historical consulting firm leading the excavation, said a back hoe that scrapes inches at a time did break some centuries-old bones, but that the same thing would have occurred during a manual excavation.
The company switched to slower and more detailed excavation methods after the site's significance became clear, investigator Chris Espenshade said.
Oh GEEEZZ!!!! I thought they might have found some remnants of a past Book of Mormon civilization, but I guess they’re still looking for that. Too bad, though. Mitt would’ve had a field day come tomorrow.
Experts called for a halt to the excavation, saying the use of heavy machinery exposed the stones to the elements and may have destroyed important artifacts. The Corps of Engineers has said the site will be preserved. "
~Preserved under the Dam or the lake?~
A bit snarky, are we?
I hope they find my stolen hubcaps from the 70’s...
Puerto Rico ping.
“Archaeologists also uncovered several graves with bodies buried face-down with the legs bent at the knees - a style never seen before in the region.”
Sounds like a mob hit.
Bless you, comedian!
BZZZZZZT!! Five words into the article before the first error.
Puerto Rican archaeologists are U.S. archaeologists. Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens.
Construction goes on above, below and beside the dam, as well as upstream (i.e. under the lake).
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Whenever a new pile of petroglyphs is found in the Americas the first thing everyone looks for are Scandinavian forms an designs.
I've already done that with the limited number of elements readily accessed on the Internet.
There are a huge percentage of the oldest Scandinavian stuff (5 to 7 thousand years old) that have legs that could arguably be "froglike". On the other hand, the more recent Viking cultures did some faces like the one shown in the examples.
The reason to look for these things is that the bow and arrow was brought to the Americas just about the time the Vikings got an improved, and seagoing, boat hull design from the Sa'ami on the Arctic Ocean.
That's anywhere from 800 to 900 AD.
The dates proposed for these petroglyphs conveniently cover that time frame.
I bet this guy gets some nice grants from some important archaeological programs at top level universities REAL DARNED SOON!!!
2 posted on 10/28/2007 7:17:22 PM CDT by muawiyah
They are safe in New York City. Gilbet Colon’s cousin has them. He’s in Indonesia or something.
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