The Guayabo monument in Costa Rica

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The Monumento Nacional Guayabo (Guayabo National Monument), located on the slopes of Turrialba Volcano, was recognized on May 22, 2009 by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) as an engineering achievement for being one of the most important archaeological sites and the largest discovered in the country. The Guayabo National Monument dates to pre-Columbian times. 

The Guayabo Archaeology site largest archaeological site of Costa Rica [Credit: Spanish at Locations]

Guayabo was the third pre-Columbian settlement in Latin America to receive the distinction, after Peru’s Machu Picchu buildings and Tipon who are also declared World Heritage for its hydraulic engineering. 

Costa Rica’s Colegio Federado de Ingenieros y Arquitectos (CFIA) – Association of Engineers and Architects – made the nomination in 2007 with the support of the government and the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud. 

View of the Guayabo Archaeology site [Credit: Wade Vagabond]

The Indian settlement, according to archaeological studies, was inhabited by the Cabécar between 1000 BC and 1400 AD is about 20 hectares, of which 3.4 have been excavated. 

Archaeologists deduced that the pre-Columbian city was inhabited by people specialized in different fields, led by a chief, who exercised political and religious power over a large region. Currently it is unclear what caused the abandonment of the city, which was unoccupied some 100 years before the Spanish conquest, but among the most accepted hypothesis mentioned diseases, wars and internal conflicts. 

A pool in Guayabo Archaeology park [Credit: Wade Vagabond]

The Guayabo National Monument became a milestone in the engineering world for its water supply and drainage systems, which have more than seven centuries of being vacated and are still working. 

The hydraulic construction of the area contains two systems, a collection and distribution of water resources management and another for rainwater, which serves to protect the entire structure and prevent flooding or overflow. 

Mounds at the Guayabo archaeology site [Credit: Wade Vagabond]

Moreover, in this area there are found different archaeological features, like mounds, steps, walkways, open and closed aqueducts, water storage tanks, tombs, petroglyphs, monoliths and sculptures. 

In the central area of the monument are different mounds or stone foundations, which generally have a circular base of different sizes. 

Petraglyph in Guayabo [Credit: Wade Vagabond]

In artistic terms, the petroglyphs and stone carvings are the most abundant and are found throughout the archaeological area including the monolith of the jaguar and the lizard, which consists of a stone carved with the figure of a jaguar on one side and a lizard on the other, whose meaning is still not deciphered. 

Source: Inside Costa Rica [May 07, 2011]

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