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Major archaeological find in Puerto Rico

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Major archaeological find in Puerto Rico

By LAURA N. PEREZ SANCHEZ, Associated Press Writer

US archaeologist Nathan Mountjoy sits next stones etched with ancient petroglyphs and graves that reveal unusual burial methods in Ponce, Puerto Rico, Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2007. The archaeological find, one of the best-preserved.




SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - U.S. and Puerto Rican archaeologists say they have found the best-preserved pre-Columbian site in the Caribbean, which could shed light on virtually every aspect of Indian life in the region, from sacred rituals to eating habits.

The archaeologists believe the site in southern Puerto Rico may have belonged to the Taino or pre-Taino people that inhabited the island before European colonization, although other tribes are a possibility. It contains stones etched with ancient petroglyphs that form a large plaza measuring some 130 feet by 160 feet, which could have been used for ball games or ceremonial rites, said Aida Belen Rivera, director of the Puerto Rican Historic Conservation office.

The petroglyphs include the carving of a human figure with masculine features and frog legs.

Archaeologists also uncovered several graves with bodies buried face-down with the legs bent at the knees

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