Scientists unearth thousand-year old Taino agricultural field

Taino artifacts that according to experts are over one thousand years old, including an agricultural field that was found intact and dating back to the pre-Columbian period, have been found in an archaeological site project in Rio San Juan, on the country’s north coast.

Taino artifacts, Dominican Republic

Taino artifacts

The Tainos were the original inhabitants of the island. The project is funded by the “Playa Grande Resort,” near Rio San Juan in collaboration with the Museum of Dominican Man and the Institute for Anthropological Research of the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo.

The artifacts, unearthed in an archaeological excavation, were turned over to the Museum of Dominican Man in Santo Domingo.

The “Playa Grande” project, currently under construction, will sponsor and open a local museum that will exhibit the Taino pieces.

The collection will artifacts plus to the “Rio San Juan” tourism offer, situated on the country’s north coast.

The archaeological site has also unearthed a field with agricultural lots that have been perfectly preserved for almost a thousand years. The lots are three to four meters wide and some 50 to 70 inches high.

The native population grew corn, cassava, and other vegetables in these plots. It is the first time that they are found intact in the Caribbean region.

Also found in what was once a Taino settlement were the remains of several individuals, as well as a rare coin, minted in 1505 in Seville, Spain for use in the Americas. Ceramics, axes, hammers, grates, shells, Spanish pottery, a Spanish glass bead, and bronze and iron pieces.

Taino, Dominican Republic

Visit “La Isabela,” the first European settlement in the Americas

On January 6, 1494, Christopher Columbus officially founded “La Isabela,” the first European settlement to be built in the New World.

The settlement was named after the Queen of Spain. In spite of the prestigious name, the settlement did not last very long.

By the end of the 15th century, the settlement had been abandoned and the colonizers had moved on to found the cities of La Vega, in the country’s central region, and the capital city of Santo Domingo.

Visitors to “La Isabela” must first stop in the town of “El Castillo,” situated a short distance from Luperon, in the province of Puerto Plata. The highway is in good condition, and getting to it easy.

Today, the ruins of “La Isabela” are there for everyone to visit. The remains of the colonial settlement are situated within the recently established “La Española” National Park.

There is a small museum exhibiting ceramic, stone and iron artefacts discovered during various archaeological excavations. Beside the ocean are the remains of what once were the walls of the settlement.

Also found are the ruins of the home originally built by Christopher Columbus, as well as the foundation of the first church built in the Americas and of the town’s warehouses.

Clearly visible are the remains of the Spanish cemetery and an open tomb with the visible remains of a colonizer who died during the first years of the colonization process.

For more information, visitors should contact the Vice Ministry of Protected Areas: 809 567 4300, or write to them at areas.protedias@ambiente.gov.do