Oct 30, 2015

Sitio Barriles, Volcan, Panama

Sitio Barriles is a pre-colombian archeological site located on private land near Volcan, Chiriqui in Panama.  I'm told that personnel from National Geographic came at one time and helped with excavations, however they are no longer involved. I haven't corroborated the veracity of the following, but I was informed that personnel from this institution took most of the "better pieces" out of the country.  Whether this is true or not, and whether the artifacts were purchased or taken, is also up for speculation.  This information was not provided by the site's official guide, but rather communicated via rumor mill.  I am ashamed to admit I don't care enough to research further.  Bottom line the pieces that were allegedly discovered there, are no longer there.  If National Geographic did remove them from the country, hopefully they are somewhere where they can be appreciated by a much wider audience.  

The small finca that houses the remaining artifacts and history is open to the public and is frequently visited by educational institutions.  The grounds are scenic and captivating as well. There is a small fee for a guided tour both the museum and grounds.  Tourists are $5 per person and locals are $3 per person.

This statue is a replica of the original which is located in a national museum.  It is a symbolic representation of the peoples who comprised the ancient civilization that populated the area.  They were comprised of Asiatic and African elements and are reported to have collaboratively inhabited the region. 

Noting that the Asian was on top, being transported by the African, I questioned our guide's explanation that they collaborated.  It was then she explained that the statue is a reflection of the collaboration.  The African is depicted as blind, and the Asian as lame.  The two peoples were able to accomplish their needs and goals through mutual effort and assistance.  

Below are a few artifacts found in the small on-site museum.

Mother and Child statue

These are ancient map rocks, indicating a central location and surrounding foot trails.

Another map rock of trails leading to the summit of Volcan Baru

Sign of the serpent,  for good luck

The area above remains to be excavated.  Students from the universities donate labor as time permits. 

The above photos are of a hillside that has been partially excavated to reveal an ancient burial ground.  Remains of the dead were stored in the clay pots embedded in the hillside. 

Pre-historic ferns and bamboo forests comprise much of the natural landscaping along the trails to the burial grounds.