San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Indigenous Graveyard Interrupts Refinery’s Plans

Construction of a new oil-refinery poliduct has been delayed, not by bureaucratic snafus or paperwork glitches, but by five tombs dating back to A.D. 900-1500.

Workers from the private company Techint, which was working on the National Oil Refinery (RECOPE) poliduct in the eastern province of Cartago, discovered the burial site last month in San Rafael de Oreamuno, according to the daily La Nación.A National Museum team inspected the site, and found human bones, jars and indigenous tools.

Construction was halted and the area has been covered with earth to prevent looting. Museum officials are now studying the best ways to protect the site, once inhabited by Costa Rica’s Huetar indigenous group.

RECOPE has already requested that the Technical Secretariat of the Environment and Energy Ministry (SETENA) approve plans to reroute the poliduct 400 meters away from the burial ground.

A NationalMuseum official said the possibility of routing that part of the poliduct above the ground to avoid the site has also been mentioned.


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