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Pre-Columbian tombs halt construction on Route 1 highway

October 13, 2020

An archaeological evaluation prior to the expansion of the main highway in Costa Rica revealed the presence of four pre-Columbian tombs, clay pots and a gold earring, the consortium in charge of the work reported Monday.

The discovery occurred on the outskirts of the capital, on Route 1 that runs west from San José to San Ramón, during earthworks to widen the road, the busiest in the country.

The Ruta Uno Trust, the consortium in charge of the work, indicated that the discovery of the remains activated the protocols established in the law on archaeological heritage, which require a temporary paralysis of construction.

“The National Museum of Costa Rica took control of the sites and asked the Trust to hire professionals in archeology to develop the corresponding evaluations,” the entity said in a statement.

The archaeologist Magdalena Leon, in charge of the evaluation, commented that the site where the works are carried out is “multicomponent” — that is, that it had occupations for several periods, which explains why pre- and post-Columbian elements of different phases have been found.

“That is why the excavation that has been carried out has been delicate and meticulous to be able to distinguish well those periods, since it is a site of more or less 100 hectares of extension,” explained Leon.

The construction work has been suspended while the archaeological investigation of the site is completed.

The Trust indicated that the finding will not affect the original design of the works on the route.

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