Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Costa Rica to exhibit 2000-year-old indigenous pieces

San Jose, Costa Rica - The pieces of a 2,000-year-old indigenous cemetery found in Costa Rica will now be part of the national heritage and will be exhibited in a few weeks, informed Costa Rican archaeologist Juan Vicente Guerrero on Friday.

In a press conference, Guerrero revealed the cemetery proved the existence of national trade in pre-Columbian times with other peoples of Mesoamerica.

"The indigenous population to which the cemetery belongs is possibly a part of the Chibcha community, a group that lived in Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Colombia," he explained.

The cemetery was found on a hill in Bahia Culebra, Guanacaste, a province in the northern Pacific region of Costa Rica.

A total of 77 graves with human remains and 140 objects made of wood, mud ceramics and jade were found here.

Other objects found included sharp utensils to cut or sculpt, and the graves were covered with big stones to avoid looting.

The analysis of the bones found in the graves might be useful to determine that at least 11 of the people buried there died when they were between 16 and 24 years of age.

One of the most outstanding finds is that of four pieces of art from Salvadoran indigenous people.

"We believe they arrived in Costa Rica through the trade between peoples," the archaeologist stated.

The cemetery, which is one of the oldest in the country, was discovered by American archaeologist Michael Snarkis. He made the discovery in March of 2006, after a private enterprise that wanted to develop a tourist complex asked him, in October 2005, to make sure that there were no archaeological treasures buried at the site .

Photo by Francisco Rodriguez of La Nacion newspaper. To see more of his cemetery photos click here.

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