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Caguana Ceremonial Ball Courts Site

The Caguana Ceremonial Ball Courts Site in Caguana barrio, Utuado, Puerto Rico,[4] is considered, by archeologists, one of the most important archeological sites in the West Indies.[5]

Caguana Ceremonial Ball Courts Site
Caguana Ceremonial Ball Courts Site - Utuado Puerto Rico.jpg
Taíno ball courts at Caguana Site
Locator map
Locator map
Caguana Ceremonial Ball Courts Site
Location of the Caguana Site in Puerto Rico
LocationHighway 111, Km 12.3
Utuado, Puerto Rico
Coordinates18°17′42″N 66°46′52″W / 18.294870°N 66.780974°W / 18.294870; -66.780974Coordinates: 18°17′42″N 66°46′52″W / 18.294870°N 66.780974°W / 18.294870; -66.780974
Area7 acres (2.8 ha)[2]
BuiltAround 1270 AD
NRHP reference #92001671[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPDecember 17, 1992
Designated NHLNovember 4, 1993[3]

Studies estimate it is over 800 years old, built by the Taíno around 1270 AD. Approximately 30 ball courts (bateyes) have been identified and many have been restored to their original state. The game of batey is believed to have originated in Mesoamerica and is said to have been played in Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola, the Bahamas and the Virgin Islands.[6] Monoliths and petroglyphs carved by the Taínos can be seen among the rocks and stones, some weighing over a ton, that were most likely brought from the Tanama River located adjacent to the site. Also located near the site is the Cemí Mountain (Montaña Cemí) which was believed, by the Taínos, to be the home of their gods and the reason they built the ball courts in that area.

The Caguana Site most likely served several different functions. First it was used for ceremonial dances, religious rituals and other rites; it was used for playing ball games in which two teams of equal numbers tossed a ball to each other; and third, it is believed to be used to make astronomical observations.

Sign for park near Lares.

The Institute of Puerto Rican Culture manages the site as a park under the name Caguana Indigenous Ceremonial Center (Parque Ceremonial Indígena de Caguana). The National Park Service has placed it on the National Register of Historic Places, and designated it as a National Historic Landmark (under the name Caguana Site).

The park also includes a small museum containing Taíno artifacts, archaeological exhibits and a botanical garden featuring the plants the Taínos harvested for food, such as sweet potatoes, cassava, corn, and yautía. Many of the trees used by the Taínos to construct their homes (bohíos), such as mahogany and ceiba can be seen throughout the park.

It was listed on the National Register in 1992 and designated a U.S. National Historic Landmark in 1993.[3][1][2]


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. April 15, 2008.
  2. ^ a b Mark R. Barnes (January 25, 1993). "National Historic Landmark Nomination: Caguana Ceremonial Ball Courts Site". National Park Service. and Accompanying four photos, from 1991
  3. ^ a b "Caguana Site". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Archived from the original on 2007-12-06. Retrieved 2007-06-28.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-04-26. Retrieved 2018-11-16.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "Parque Ceremonial Indígena de Caguana. Puerto Rico".
  6. ^ "Caguana Ceremonial Ball Courts Site--Historic Places in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands; A National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary".

External linksEdit