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Ancient Artifacts Exhibited for Guayabo Monument Anniversary

The Omar Salazar Obando Museum in Turrialba has opened a new exhibition titled “Guayabo: The Journey of Our People” showcasing 60 pre-Columbian artifacts from Guayabo and Turrialba. The exhibition commemorates the 50th anniversary of Guayabo National Monument’s establishment as a preserved archaeological site.

Many of the artifacts on display are making their public debut in Turrialba through this collaborative effort between the Atlantic Headquarters, the School of Anthropology at the University of Costa Rica (UCR), and the National Museum. The pieces span a timeline from the early 19th century to present day.

Ifigenia Quintanilla Jiménez, director of the National Museum, emphasized the importance of this exhibition in honoring the ancient cultures that inhabited Guayabo and the greater Turrialba valley long ago.

Visitors can expect to see diverse artifacts, ranging from larger items like tables and tombstones to smaller objects related to food preparation and consumption. The exhibition will remain open free to the public until August 24, 2024. It operates Monday through Friday from 8:30am to noon and 1pm to 4:30pm.

Historically, archaeologists believed pre-Columbian people in Costa Rica’s Central Valley subsisted mainly on maize like Mesoamerican groups. However, new evidence suggests their diet was more varied. Excavations by UCR archaeologists at Guayabo under the National Museum’s supervision uncovered remains of legumes, likely beans, and even fish bones.

Researchers propose the fish originated from today’s Caribbean coast, transported inland for consumption. This discovery sheds light on previously unknown cultural exchanges and trade routes.

Marking its 50th year as a protected site, Guayabo National Monument has been vital in unearthing new archaeological insights. It spans 20 hectares in the Turrialba district of Santa Teresita. Although inhabited from 1000 BC to 1400 AD, Guayabo flourished between 900-1100 AD when most existing infrastructure was built. The new exhibition honors this rich cultural history.

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