Centro Ceremonial Indígena de Tibes Ponce, PR
rediscovered wholly by accident in 1975 when Hurricane Eloisa deposited torrential rain over the region
historical site


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Year Established: 1975
Description:

The Tibes Indigenous Ceremonial Center, located on the outskirts of Ponce, was rediscovered wholly by accident in 1975 when Hurricane Eloisa deposited torrential rain over the region. The subsequent flooding of the adjacent Río Portugues revealed one of the most important archeological discoveries in the Caribbean: several plots of land surrounded by engraved stones, each of them individually known as a “batey”.

These open spaces where once used by Puerto Rico’s igneri and pre-taíno cultures to celebrate outdoor activities such as a musical ceremony called the “areyto” and a traditional ball game also known as “batey”. This significant discovery dating back two millennia revealed a total of 12 such spaces across the area, 9 of which are accesible to the public. It also revealed the island’s largest indigenous cemetery with over 180 human remains found.

A yucayeque, or village, recreates the way society was organized well before the European conquest: a central communal space surrounded by reproductions of the typical Taíno dwelling, called a “bohío”, as well as a “caney” or the tribe chief’s main residence. A museum showcases artifacts utilized by these ancient inhabitants, while artwork depicting common activities offers visitors a glimpse into their distant and fascinating past.