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More Than 50,000 Pieces of Artifacts Discovered from the Second Phase of Preconstruction Archaeological Investigation in Brito Area of West Canal Delivered to the Government of Nicaragua 2016-8-21 09:31

On 19 August 2016, HKND Group handed over to the Nicaragua Grand Canal Commission 52,280 pieces of artifacts discovered from the second phase of preconstruction archaeological investigation in Brito area of West Canal during a ceremony held at National Palace of Culture in Managua. This archaeological work 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), as well as the findings of the first phase archeological investigation conducted from December 2015 to January 2016 in Brito. The handover ceremony marks the completion of dual-phased preconstruction archaeological work in Brito area of West Canal.

Pang Kwok Wai, Executive Vice President of HKND Group, handing over the complete list of artifacts discovered during
the second phase archeological excavation to Manuel Coronel Kautz, President of the Nicaragua Grand Canal Commission.
Back row from left to right: Dr. Paul Oquist, Executive Secretary of the Canal Commission; Bill Wild,
Chief Project Advisor of HKND Group; Telémaco Talavera, Spokesperson of the Canal Commission
Photograph: HKND Group

Two local teams of archaeologists, which undertook the first phase of preconstruction archaeological investigation in Brito area, under the leadership of Nicaraguan archaeologist and historian Dr. Patrick Werner and Professor Sagrario Balladares, Coordinator of the Archaeological Documentation and Research Center (CADI) at UNAN-Managua, joined hands again with HKND Group to carry out the second phase of archaeological excavation.

Nicaraguan archaeologist Edgar Espinoza Perez presented findings from the second phase preconstruction
archaeological investigation at the ceremony
Photograph: HKND Group

According to the archaeologists, the most noticeable findings of this exercise included a sizable pre-Columbian salt production workshop, first discovered in Nicaragua near the mangroves in Brito. After detailed excavation, investigation, analysis and study of the relics, experts from CADI at UNAN identified the salt production procedure and methods adopted by people living along the Pacific coast of Nicaragua in pre-Columbian era, and restored their salt-making process.

Archaeological work in Brito has yielded substantial achievement. Historic relics suffered from mangrove progradation and salt water intrusion were investigated, excavated, collected and preserved to the maximum extent possible by archaeologists. The investigation provides valuable information for the study of pre-Columbian era in Nicaragua history, and serves as an important reference for the further development of anthropology, history and archaeology of Central America.

Prof. Sagrario Balladares, Coordinator of CADI at UNAN-Managua explained, “It is worth noting that this is a very meaningful opportunity. By means of these archaeological studies that are to be conducted along the Grand Canal route, new contributions, new data and new interpretations for the national and regional history will be achieved.”

The preconstruction archaeological investigation strictly complies with the international best practices and applicable Nicaraguan laws. The construction work should proceed with Chance Find Procedure in line with international standards. Timely reporting, evaluation and appropriate treatment will be carried out for any chance findings, to maximize the protection of cultural relics and heritages.

Pang Kwok Wai, Executive Vice President of HKND Group said, “HKND has always been acting responsibly to the environment and the people of Nicaragua. We respect all people in Nicaragua and will treat everybody fairly. We respect your culture and will try our best to record and preserve your culture.”

Dr. Paul Oquist, Executive Secretary of the Canal Commission pointed out, “Without this Project, these relics could have never been found. The preconstruction archaeological investigation proves the high level of commitment of the Grand Canal Project to preserve the culture and environment in an extraordinary way.”

Dr. Paul Oquist, Executive Secretary of the Canal Commission delivering a speech at the handover ceremony
Photograph: HKND Group

Luis Morales Alonso, Co-Director of the Nicaraguan Institute of Culture said, “This is a significant moment for the Nicaraguan culture, in particular for the Nicaraguan archeology. No such massive archaeological study had ever been made in Nicaragua, as it is the pre-investigation for the construction of an infrastructure that will represent one of the advances in global engineering.”

Telémaco Talavera, Spokesperson of the Commission stressed that this mega project has important economic, social and environmental significance, and made magnificent contribution to the rescue of cultural heritage. 

 “We are rescuing the traditions, cultures and potentialities that our ancestors had before the invasion of the Europeans, which will otherwise continue being hidden underground with some of the culture relics damaged by degradation process. Moreover, the Canal Project will promote the development of economy, science and technology, as well as provide remarkable research opportunities for students, academics and scientists," said Talavera.

Delegates taking a close look at the unearthed culture relics from the second phase preconstruction archaeological investigation
Photograph: HKND Group

Also present at the ceremony were: Manuel Coronel Kautz, President of the Nicaragua Canal Commission; Laureano Ortega, advisor of ProNicaragua and member of the Canal Commission; Bill Wild, Chief Project Advisor of HKND Group; and local experts who had participated in the archaeological works.