Chorro de Maíta archaeological site, an encounter with the ancestors

Chorro de Maíta archaeological site, an encounter with the ancestors

Heritage & Traditions

Por Rose Ross

The archaeological site of Chorro de Maíta is a large location where remains have been found of ceramic farming indigenous societies recognized as Taínos or agro-potters. It is located on the eastern slope of the Yaguajay hill, in the eastern province of Holguín, at an altitude of 160 meters above sea level and 4.7 km from the coast. One hundred-eight burials were excavated, some of them with individuals wearing metallic ornaments, coral, resin, stone, and other materials were found.

There is evidence of all forms of burials found not only in the country, but in the Caribbean, as well as some variants that had never been recorded before, reason why it is considered the first aboriginal cemetery of ceramic farmers found in Cuba. In this place, there is supposed to have been Indigenous-Hispanic contact. The transculturation is evident. In addition to the presence of vessels, ornaments, fragments of brass and Spanish bells, there are Christian burials: extended limbs, arms crossed at chest level, and skulls that, for the most part, were not deformed.

Chorro de Maíta must have been a place of contact with other cultures. A copper medallion -unique in Cuba- typical of Venezuelan natives was rescued, who wore it at the height of the kneecap and shoulders.

Coincidentally, human remains appeared there whose height of one meter and seventy-six centimeters exceeds that of the aborigines. Still today, there are many enigmas still to be deciphered in Chorro de Maíta.

There is a museum on this site, opened on November 1, 1990, which was built over the funeral area. There are replicas of the human remains found there, and it was declared a National Monument on November 30, 1991.