Exhibit room at Caguana Indigenous Ceremonial Park slated for renewal
By The Star Staff
The Institute of Puerto Rican Culture (ICP by its Spanish initials) will carry out a curatorial and museographic renovation of the thematic exhibit room at the Caguana Indigenous Ceremonial Park in Utuado.
The work is part of a new stage of development at the archaeological site. For this reason, the exhibit room will be closed until February of next year, when a new exhibition is expected to open. Other park areas will remain open at regular hours, seven days a week. In addition, other improvements will be made, such as new signage and labeling in the park and maintenance of the monoliths.
The project is possible thanks to an allocation of more than $150,000 in Cultural Rescue Phase II with ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funds made by Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia.
“Aimed at providing a better experience to the public that visits the Caguana Ceremonial Park, we have begun the renovation of its theme room and the rest of the park,” ICP Executive Director Carlos Ruiz said. “With the new exhibition we are working on, the public will be able to appreciate more archaeological objects, not only from the indigenous Taíno culture, but from previous cultures such as the archaic Saladoid and Huecoid, forming a general history of our aboriginal past. We will have a broad and detailed curatorial vision of a fascinating past that will positively impact the entire archaeological site, considered the most important in the Caribbean.”
A few weeks ago, the ICP’s Archaeology and Ethnohistory program, along with the Museums and Parks program, began the disassembly, packaging and transportation of the pieces and inspection of the work. During the process, personnel will work under the supervision of Reniel Rodríguez Ramos, curator and professor at the University of Puerto Rico in Utuado. Rodríguez Ramos is known for his archaeological findings, the most recent dating the first inhabitants of Puerto Rico to the year 4200 BC.
The exhibit in the thematic room will have a more significant number of objects, such as lithic rings, lithic elbows, vessels, ceramics, anthropomorphic handles, zemis, ducts and shells. Once renovated, it will have greater educational and technological resources that support students and the general public. Workers will create new signage and make the area accessible to the public with diverse needs. The curation of the new exhibition is in the hands of Rodríguez Ramos. Likewise, the Museum of the Americas is managing the project.
The archaeological site known as Caguana was inhabited for nearly 300 years, from around 1200 AD to around 1500 AD. It was abandoned after the Spanish conquest and colonization. In 1915, the first archaeological investigation of the area was led by John Alden Mason. In 1938, archaeologist Irving Rouse of Yale University carried out new excavations, producing essential finds. Later, in 1965, under the direction of Ricardo E. Alegría, the Caguana Indigenous Ceremonial Park was inaugurated as an archaeological site and a place for contemplation of cultural and natural elements.