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Gravedigger in Costa Rica discovers century-old construction in Heredia cemetery

A worker at the Central Cemetery of Heredia made an unexpected discovery while digging to prepare a niche at the request of a family: the gravedigger came across a construction site that forced him to stop his work and notify the municipal authorities.

The authorities from the Heredia Municipality, mentioned that a structure from the Republican period of Costa Rican architecture was found. This period corresponds to the dates from 1848 to 1920. They believe it dates from this phase, due to its characteristics, materials and construction techniques.

In response to this discovery, the local government coordinated with the Center for Research and Conservation of Cultural Heritage and the Anthropology and History Department of the National Museum to conduct an archaeological inspection of the site.

According to this inspection, the structure has a rectangular shape, with an arched roof, built entirely of bricks; to the north, the shape of the arch can be clearly observed, as well as its delimitation with a stone wall.

Meanwhile, on the south side there is a wide brick wall, and on the right side there is a hole where a narrow but very long space extends to the south, possibly communicating with the adjoining burial. That adjoining grave has a plaque that reads Priest Ezequiel Martinez C., September 28, 1840 to January 11, 1908.

In addition, towards the eastern side there is another wall that belongs to the main structure, and above it, the foundations of the stone wall that delimits this sector of the cemetery.  On the west side it is possible to observe the profile of the arch of the structure, which was built with overlapping bricks.

In addition, as a temporary measure, the protection of the space and the structure found was coordinated.

Archaeologist of the National Museum, Viviana Sanchez, elaborated a report following her inspection, where she mentioned that “according to information provided by the officials of the Municipality of Heredia who accompanied us on the visit, on other occasions the presence of ancient niches has been reported to have been found when excavating for the construction of the present subway niches. However, such a structure had not been identified or recorded by them in the past.”

The Local Government of Heredia confirms its commitment to the protection and management of cultural heritage and it will dully follow all the recommendations emitted by the corresponding authorities.

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