Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Tairona objects found in Chorro de Maita

Tairona funerary objects have been found at the ancient aboriginal cemetery Chorro de Maita, located near the famous Guardalavaca beach resort.

In the late 20s, archaeological evidence started to accumulate on the existence of an aboriginal settlement in the area of Chorro de Maita. Excavations following the chance finding of an aboriginal skeleton by some of the dwellers, led to the most important discovery in Cuban-Indian archaeology: a burial ground with the remains of 108 human bodies, the largest funeral site thus far found in the Antilles.

Firstly, never before had there been any evidence of the burial customs of the agricultural and pottery-making Indian communities that had settled in this area. Also, the position in which many of the bodies were buried was quite unusual: arms crossed over the chest, thereby leading to the supposition of some Indian- European contact in Chorro de Maita.

The new objects found, known as guanines, were typical of the aborigines who inhabited the area of Colombia and are made of an alloy of gold, silver and copper; match the style of the guanines made by the Colombian aborigines.

A comparative study conducted with pieces found in other parts of the country revealed that these were made using a completely different smiting technique.

Researchers are now trying to determine weather these objects were brought to the island by the Spanish colonizers or made here.

It is known that Colombian natives were brought as slaves to Cuba in the sixteenth century, and they continued to make their guanines here.

The research also corroborates the information that existed on smelting techniques in the West Indies.

The discovery makes of the Chorro de Maita cemetery a site of utmost importance for the reconstruction of the history of the aboriginal inhabitants of the island.