Development Plan

Since its discovery in 1975, the Tibes Indigenous Ceremonial Park in Ponce has been engaged in a three phase development plan.

Phase I

From 1975 until 1982, was dedicated to site exploration, excavation and restoration. Forty-five acres wore explored; sample excavations were conducted over thirty-two acres; and nine structures wore restored. In addition, skeletal remains and other archeological material were collected.

Phase II

Will provide for the analysis, evaluation, cataloging and interpretation of this material. It will consist of specific areas of investigation, directed at answering the following questions (theoretical framework) by level:

1. Inventory and preparation of existing materials, on and off-site

2. Study by specialty

A. Human Osteological Remains

1. What were the burial locations, orientations, positions and what information can be gathered from non-osteological burial evidence?

2. What is the demographic pattern: sex, age, stature and racial characteristics?

3. What were the possible causes of death: traumas, illness, natural death; what health effects can be determined; what injuries are noted?

4. What are the DNA characteristics?

5. What information is provided by bone analysis: contaminants. minerals, etc.?

6. What interpretations are suggested by the grave groups (rituals, social status, etc.) and how does it compare with intro and inter sites (Caribbean context)?

B. Vertebrate Remains

1. What vertebrate remains were found and in what proportion?

2. What evidence of raising or maintaining vertebrates (domestication of animals) was found?

3. What vertebrates were consumed; how were they prepared (cooked); what was their percent of consumption?

4. To what area was this fauna indigenous: marine, terrestrial, geographic location?

5.How does its frequency of use suggest habitat exploitation?

6.How were bones used: tools, ornamentation, religious motives, other?

7. Which still exist; which are extinct?

C. Invertebrate Remains

1. What invertebrate remains were found and in what proportion?

2. What invertebrates were consumed; how wore they prepared (cooked); what was their percent of consumption?

3. To what area was this fauna indigenous: marine, terrestrial, geographic location?

4. How does its frequency of use suggest habitat exploitation?

5.How were shells used: tools, ornamentation, religious motives, other?

6. Which still exist; which are extinct?

D. Soil Phytoliths
1. What Phytoliths are present?

2. What are the botanical macro-remains?

3. What plant species existed; how were they used?

4. What pro-historic environmental conditions are suggested by these botanical macro-remains?

E. Lithic Materials (stone)
1. What type of stone was found? In what proportion?

2. What is its source?

3. How does that compare with the stone in the adjoining river? In the river's source? There may be insufficient samples for evaluation at this time?

4. What technological processes were involved in the manufacture of the artifacts?

5. How was it used: tools, ornamentation, religious motives, construction, other?

F. Geology
1. What was the area's land configuration and material make-up?

2. What effect did the river have on the environment?

3. What was the effect of human activity on the environment?

G. Ceramic Remains
1. What ceramic styles were found and how can they be defined?

2. What manufacturing technology was used and what are the materials' characteristics?

3. What are the decorative characteristics: daily use, special use?

4. What are the morphological characteristics (form and function)?

H. Food Remains
1. What does the vertebrate, invertebrate and residual analysis suggest in a macro analysis of food consumption?

2. What habitat exploitation is suggested by this consumption?

I. Drawings and Sketches
1. What are the forms and styles found by the investigators?

J. Photography
1. What is the general topography of the site?

2. What physical evidence was found by the investigators?

K. Conclusion
1. What time periods are represented by the samples?

2. What was the site topography during each of these periods?

3. What can be determined about the inhabitants during each period?

  • Demographics
  • Style/quality of life
  • Social/political indicators
  • Settlement patterns
  • Communication/commerce
  • Environmental zones
  • Order of habitation
  • The economy

4. What was the function of Tibes during each period?


Participating scientists have two roles: to complete their portion of the investigation; and to share their expertise, techniques and findings with Island scientists and students, thus furthering Tibe's educational mission.

1. Analysis

2. Workshop for Island Scientists explaining procedures and initial findings

3. Final evaluation and report

4. Workshop for Island Scientists joining all parts of the study Anticipated time to complete the evaluation is two years, depending on availability of funding and participating experts.


Findings will be reported in a professional publication made available to libraries, archeologists and interested parties at minimal or no cost.

  1. Editor - Luis A Rodriguez Gracia
  2. Preface
  3. Introduction- Principal Investigator
  4. Chapters - Task archeologists/investigators/ technicians
  5. Conclusion - Principal Investigator

It is estimated that the total cost of publication of 2,000 copies will be $10,000.

Phase III

Of the development will be determined following the completion of Phase II. There are a variety of options that may be considered either separately or in some combination:

  1. Expanding the immediate area of excavation

  2. Excavating to a greater depth

  3. Analysis of contiguous areas in Tibes and beyond