On a recent weekend trip to Vieques, we had a spare hour and decided to check out the Archaelogical site of the Hombre de Puerto Ferro. Located on Carr. 977 (on the way to Sun Bay) it is a dirt road that takes you up the hill to a clearing with large rocks that are arranged in a circular fashion.
Who is the Hombre de Puerto Ferro?
In 1990, archeologists from the Center for Archeological Investigation at the University of Puerto Rico discovered the 4,000 year old skeletal remains of a Puerto Ferro man. This man, who is thought to have been between 35 and 40 years old at the time of his death, was buried in the fetal position, proving that these ancient people put religious thought into the burial process. The site has since been excavated to find many other artifacts dating back to the same time period, including stone and shell tools as well as the remains of food eaten by this ancient group of people.
Situated among towering trees, the skeletal remains were found near the largest of many grano-dioritic boulders situated in a small clearing. The archeological site overlooks Mosquito Bay, as well as a beautiful wilderness area. This is the site of the earliest known inhabitance of Vieques and is of great cultural, spiritual and historical significance to many Viequenses.
Why is the Discovery Important?
This discovery pinpoints Vieques as one of the earliest known pre-Arawak stone age cultures in the Antilles. Through radiocarbon dating, the remains are estimated to be from about 500-2300 BC.
While the skeleton is no longer there, it definitely has a feel of importance around it, and the rocks that seem to be in a loose circle feel as if they were moved there. It is worth the trip to get out of the car and stretch your legs and comtemplate how very long ago the Puerto Ferro Man was there…. How did they get there to vieques? How did the rocks get there? What was the significance of the location (which is not very close to the ocean)? It is a fascinating history lesson and we highly recommend it!
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