Discovering the Treasures of Guayabo National Monument

May 4, 2007

Cut logs line gravel paths that lead visitors past ancient tomb sites made of rock slabs where various burial rituals were once performed. Archaeologists believe the burial process involved meticulous cleaning and well-constructed tombs for passage into the afterlife, according to GuayaboNational Monument park guide Rosita Fernández.

The site s main mound, measuring 32 meters wide, sits highest at the site s center with rock steps leading to the grassy center on both sides. Archaeologists believe this montículo served as a prayer site where the head chief went at sunrise to tell of the good things his people had done, and returned in the evening to reveal their bad deeds.

From afar, the circular green grass top glistens in the sun and carefully placed volcanic rocks on the mound s sloping side form the earliest staircases that have been seen in the country.

A restored stone roadway runs about 200 meters in length to the mound; archaeologists believe it served as a welcome mat to prayer as well as an inlet for outside communication.

Rectangular tanks and descending aqueducts reveal early knowledge of engineering, while staircases and roadways made with acute precision show early mathematics and architecture.

This motley of earthen treasures is found on just 20% of the monument s site.

If the site receives sufficient funds, archaeologists plan to further excavate the 16 hectares of overgrown jungle grounds.

Conservationist Mario Boza says there are at least 100 other sites, of equal importance but smaller size, scattered throughout the country.

Pre-Columbian inhabitants set up camp all across Costa Rica due to an abundance of water sources, which Boza says resulted in no single large-scale monument site like the grand ruins of Machu Pichu in Peru, where thousands lived and worked.

Guayabo National Monument is open to visitors from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily. For information, call 559-1220.

 

You may be interested

Costa Rica’s Keylor Navas, Real Madrid nab third consecutive Champions title
Keylor Navas
49 views
Keylor Navas
49 views

Costa Rica’s Keylor Navas, Real Madrid nab third consecutive Champions title

Katherine Stanley - May 26, 2018

Costa Rica's star goalie, Keylor Navas, continued his historic march through world football as his club team, Real Madrid, won…

Adaptive surfing, part III: Riding the waves with Noah
sports
145 views
sports
145 views

Adaptive surfing, part III: Riding the waves with Noah

Ellen Zoe Golden - May 25, 2018

Part III in a series on adaptive surfing in Costa Rica. Read Part I, about the country's association for disabled…

It’s frog orgy season
Environment and Wildlife
1250 views
Environment and Wildlife
1250 views

It’s frog orgy season

Lindsay Fendt - May 25, 2018

The rainy season is upon us. For many of us that means hiding indoors for the next few months, but for Costa…