Taino Archeological Cave Museum

 

Another project of the St. Augustine-Baracoa Friendship Association has been to provide materials to open the Taino Archeological Cave Museum.  This unique museum consists of pre-Columbian artifacts from in and around Baracoa which have been put on display in a cave above the city.  This cave contains in situ burials as well as artifacts from other locations, placed here in secure displays where visitors can marvel at the wonders from the Taino culture.


 



Don't worry, the tarantula that Maria found in one cave was quite dead, I don't think it posed a threat to any of us any more.  The caves were apparently used as burial grounds by the Taino people, there were several "crypts" containing in situ burials dating from the last 1000 years. One of the burials, which had been moved here from a nearby cave, has been tentatively identified as a resistance hero of the Taino people, a warrior chief who raided early Spanish settlements. 

 

I was really blown away by this carved figure.  It was origanlly from another cave that was extensively excavated by foreign archeologists.  The archeologist cut the carvings out of the walls and removed them to museums in the US, but a couple of the carvings were left behind.  Hopefully the efforts of the Taino museum and their archeologists can promote understanding and prevent future plundering of the area's rich cultural heritage.

After giving us a tour of the museum, the staff took us on a half-day hike into the mountains and showed us more caves and spectacular countryside.  Thank you to the staff of the Taino Archeological Cave Museum and all of the donors who made the opening of the Museum possible.

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