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Archaeological Relics and Report of Preconstruction Archaeological Investigation in Brito Area of West Canal Delivered to the Government of Nicaragua 2016-3-14 14:05

On 11 March 2016, HKND Group handed over to the Nicaragua Grand Canal Commission the Report of Preconstruction Archaeological Investigation in Brito and all the artifacts discovered during the course of the excavation. This archaeological work, conducted in the Brito area of the West Canal, is based on the results and recommendations of the preliminary archaeological survey as part of the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) carried out by Environmental Resources Management (ERM).

Press conference held for the submission of the Report of Preconstruction Archaeological Investigation in Brito and handover of archaeological relics (from left to right: Dr. Patrick Werner; Luis Morales Alonso, Co-Director of the Nicaraguan Institute of Culture; Bill Wild, Chief Project Advisor of HKND Group; Manuel Coronel Kautz, President of the Nicaragua Canal Commission; Telémaco Talavera, Spokesperson of the Commission and Sagrario Balladares, coordinator of the Archaeological Documentation and Research Center (CADI) at the UNAN-Managua)
Photograph: HKND Group

These pre-construction archaeological activities were undertaken during the period from 1 December 2015 until 31 January 2016, by two local teams of archaeologists, one led by the archaeologist and historian Dr. Patrick Werner and a second from CADI at UNAN-Managua directed by Sagrario Balladares.

President of the Nicaragua Canal Commission handing over all the relics found over the course of the excavation to the Nicaraguan Institute of Culture (from left to right: Luis Morales Alonso, Co-Director of the Nicaraguan Institute of Culture; Bill Wild, Chief Project Advisor of HKND Group and Manuel Coronel Kautz, President of the Nicaragua Canal Commission)
Photograph: HKND Group

More than 5,000 pieces of pottery sherds, lithic artifacts and coins dating from 500 BC to Pre-Columbian era were discovered during the archaeological investigation, indicating human settlement and activities in the Pacific coast of Nicaragua as early as 500 BC. In addition, a number of Luna Polychrome fragments were also unearthed during the archaeological dig. Luna Polychrome, a type of pottery exclusive to Central America, is considered as a luxury item by archaeologists. The pottery is characterized by a distinct cream white paint and beautiful abstract images; the painting and manufacturing process of Luna ceramics remains to be studied in future.

First evidence of ancient salt production unearthed in Nicaragua - Jar for salt production. 
Photograph: HKND Group

Fragment of Luna Polychrome, which was considered as luxury item. 
Photograph: HKND Group

It is noticeable that an intact jar was found at a coastal archaeological site. According to the archaeologists, the jar with smooth inner side, porous outside and tiny cracks on upper part was made especially for salt production; 14 fire pits were also discovered nearby, serving as the first salt production evidence in Nicaragua. Archaeologists suggested that those fire pits were used by native people in Pre-Columbian era for salt production by means of evaporating seawater. “Before the site at Brito was found, there was exactly no known site, no known pottery, and no known analysis of salt production in Nicaragua. Neither is there any discussion in the literature about early salt production,” concluded Dr. Patrick Werner.

Laureano Ortega, member of the Commission said, “Today marks another important step forward in advancing the Grand Interoceanic Canal project. The archaeological findings help the people of Nicaragua understand more about the country’s history, embrace the present and build a better future for Nicaragua. ”

Bill Wild, Chief Project Advisor of HKND, explained in the press conference that construction works can proceed, subject to appropriate “chance-finds” procedures being established and subject to the works being undertaken in accordance with the Project’s Cultural Heritage Management Plan.

The archaeological report and over 5,000 pieces of artifacts recovered during archeological excavation have deepened the knowledge and understanding of Nicaraguan history and culture during Pre-Colombian era, contributing to the development of Mesoamerican anthropology and archaeology studies. “It is the first systematic and the largest excavation that has been done in the Pacific of Nicaragua. It helps to understand the relationship between people, ocean and lake,” said Edgar Espinoza Perez, an acknowledged Nicaraguan archaeologist specializing in potsherd study. Dr. Patrick Werner stated that “all of this knowledge is completely new, and contributes to our understanding of the ancient cultures and economy of Nicaragua before the conquest.” 

 “This is important for the knowledge and history of our country. This will be a turning point in the Nicaraguan archeology,” said Luis Morales Alonso, Co-Director of the Nicaraguan Institute of Culture.

“The Interoceanic Canal is much more than a civil engineering project. It is a project of integral economic, social, environmental and cultural development,” highlighted Telémaco Talavera, Spokesperson of the Grand Canal Commission. 


Full text of the archaeological report in both English and Spanish is available at HKND website. Please click on the link below for details: