July 15, 2011

They Call Me Mister Tibes

Hurricane Eloisa cut a swath of destruction through Puerto Rico in 1975. The remains of an ancient community were uncovered in Tibes in the flooding that followed. Fragments of bones and ceramics revealed that the area was first inhabited soon after the birth of Jesus by the Igneri tribe. They abandoned it six hundred years after for reasons that remain a mystery to this day. A different tribe, the Taino, arrived in more recent times to resettle in the area. A model of the ancient dwellings has been created at the Tibes Indigenous Ceremonial Center so that visitors can get an insight into the lives of the early indigenous people of Puerto Rico.

The large grounds contain structures that show it acted as a guide to the stars, which was important for an agrarian society in determining the dates of the solstice and equinox. A cemetery containing almost 200 human bodies lies within the most important archaeological site in the Antilles. Sports fields, where a soccer style game called batey was played, were also found. Legend has it that after a Christian missionary was captured by the tribe, they decided to play ball to decide his fate. The winning team would get to kill him.


“The nature of man is always the same; it is their habits that separate them.” ~ Confucius