Indian Ceremonial Park
By: Nelsonrafael Collazo
The Indian Ceremonial Center of Tibes, located in the city of Ponce was
discovered in 1975. The first inhabitants of the area were presumably the Igneris
Indians who came from South America. They must have settled here at about
the beginning of the Christian era, near the third century. Slowly, the Taíno
Indians occupied and shared the places acquired by the Igneris.
The Taínos, at approximately 800 years before the Discovery of Puerto Rico,
had constructed the "bateyes" or Ceremonial Parks, that we have today at the
Tibes Ceremonial Park. Here they used to celebrate their "Areytos" or traditional
festivities, their sports and other important events. Maybe in the past, they
utilized the place as a cemetery or burial place.
There is evidence that they constructed structures (bohíos) in the Ceremonial
Center although their living quarters were not built there.
At the Museum in the Ceremonial Park of Tibes, we may see burials, charms,
idols, vessels, petroglyphs and other artifacts used by the Taíno and Igneris
Indians who lived here. The place is a sanctuary of prehistoric trees such as
"higüero, hacar, guanábana, corazón" among others. There are varieties of
birds such as "martinete (hammer), ruiseñor (nightingale), pitirre, múcaro (owl),
zorzal y carpintero (woodpecker), which existed at the times of our Indians.
There is also yucca, tobacco, corn, "lerenes" and other indigenous plantations
in the area.
In this publication we offer beautiful illustrations by two well known Puerto
Rican artists: Elpidio Collazo and Angel Jiménez Alfínez. These illustrations
will give the reader a clear idea of the people who lived in the Tibes' Valley
in Ponce. The reader will see the clay vessels made by the Indians, places
for sports and ceremonies, their homes, celebrations, religious customs, trades,
transportation means, arms, domestic utensils, musical instruments, religious
or magic representations, trees, fruits and animals.
This educational, easy to read book, is intended for the enjoyment of adults
as well as children.