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A Cuban Nazca

This ancient civilization, in which stars exerted a peculiar attraction, drew those figures (only seen from the heights) that aroused diverse theories linked to astronomy, religion, geometry and human creation in more remote times, including that of the hands coming from the sidereal space.

However, did you know that in Cuban lands there is a less spectacular variant, but equally conceived to be seen from above?

When in July 1956 an expedition led by Antonio Núñez Jiménez discovered in the north coast of the current province of Ciego de Ávila, the largest monument made by Indocubans, it marked a turning point in the then conception about the development of the art and religion of the primitive inhabitants that lived in our territory.

This giant hillock depicts the figure of a wingspread bat and is the largest artistic-religious endeavor undertaken by the aboriginals, not only in Cuba but also in the entire Antilles, by reaching 108 meters long, 14 meters wide and 3 meters high, composed of high alternate layers of earth, rocks, pottery remains, animal bones and burenes.

Later in October 1976, Núñez Jiménez himself travelling through the southern coast of the region describes a lometon or caney (rudimentary dwelling roofed with palm leaves) found by local farmers, with characteristics very similar to that found twenty years ago in the northern coast.

It’s known that there are dozens of caneyes throughout the northern coast of Ciego de Ávila and Camagüey and their length ranges from 50 to 100 meters and their width from 15 to 45 meters.

Without a doubt, the monumentary art bequeathed by both communities is exclusive characteristic of these regions, because traces from such a peculiar form of worship and burial do not surface in the rest of the country.

Something interesting to highlight is the position of the muddy bat, since it appears with its wings spread from north to south and the face looking toward the east, perhaps, a symbology of the inhabitant from darkness in search of the first lights of dawn. Maybe an interpretation of good and evil? How much intimate ritual value did they grant to this chiropteran mammal, cause of such a hard collective work?, or just an offering to something unknown that they saw flying at night?

Either for the vegetation that covers them or because they’re at a certain height, the location of the caneyes and to get to know the size of their stretches at first sight is not an easy task. Example of that is that the lometon described by Cuba’s fourth discoverer was sighted from a light aircraft and not from the ground.

It can be said that as much the bat’s hillock as the aforementioned (an elongated oval with another attached to its southwestern end) are the first giant figures watched our country in all their meaning from above, as well as the drawings of the ancient Nazca settlers. Are these hillocks exponents of a veneration to the astronomic vision that those agropottery communities had.  Do they symbolize messages to their gods, the only ones able to see them from the sky at that time?

The large number of skeletons found throughout the southern swampy makes to think that these funerary monuments had been built after a natural catastrophe or epidemic and the aboriginals took certain totemic symbols or celestial figures to protect both the dead and the alive.

Our Nazca, of less speculative scope, keeps unrevealed enigmas linked to the ways of life of Indocubans and their interpretations of the world. The remote pre-history that the stones of our archipelago hide still have a lot to say.


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