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[photo] Caguana Ceremonial Ball Courts Site
Photo c
ourtesy of the Puerto Rico Office of Historic Preservation

The Caguana Ceremonial Ball Courts Site dates from Puerto Rico's late prehistoric and early contact era. The Taino Indians constructed the stone-lined ball courts, called bateyes, between 1200 and 1500 AD, and they used the site throughout the Spanish contact period. The first written description of the game, played with two teams and a rubber ball, appeared after Columbus' first voyage. More than just a sport, the game had ceremonial significance, for the game's outcome influenced important Taino decisions. It is believed that the game of batey originated in Mesoamerica, and was played in Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola, the Bahamas and the Virgin Islands. The Caguana site, the largest site of its type in the West Indies, is located in the rainy west central mountains on the east side of the Tanama River, in Barrio Caguana. In 1955, the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture acquired the site and began a program of stabilization and restoration. Cobbled walkways border 10 bateyes and stone monoliths, many decorated with petroglyphs, rim some of the court.

The Caguana Ceremonial Ball Courts Site, a National Historic Landmark, is located on Rte. 111, Km. 12.3, west of Utuado, Puerto Rico. The park is open 9:00am to 4:00pm, Wednesday-Sunday. There is a small museum at the site. Call 787-894-7325 or 787-724-5477 for further information.


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