top of page

Indiana Jones in Nicaragua - Finding pre-Columbian art on a family farm

While we were studying Spanish at the Mariposa Center in the forest of Nicaragua, I mentioned to my conversation teacher, Marta, that I was interested in pre-Columbian archaeology. She mentioned that her family farm was nearby. When she was a girl in the early 1990s, a hurricane swept through and washed away several feet of the topsoil along the creek running through the farm. She remembered finding "art of the ancestors" on a steep embankment when she was playing after the storm. And that later she found an old grinding stone beneath a root.

I asked if I could visit the farm with her and see the art. She didn't know if it would still be visible but agreed to take me.

The next day, we walked about 45 minutes from the school through the village and out into the hilly

countryside. We ducked under a fence and followed rows of fruit trees. The hill grew steeper and, eventually, we had to hold on to roots and vines to drop into the riverbed. The bank became slippery rock covered in moss. I followed her under an overhang and there it was!

There were many carvings of dancing humans and human faces and some designs and stylized puma prints all along the wall of the small rock ledge hidden on her farm. It was a fun adventure day (way better than any museum) and a great way to learn Spanish.

Later Marta took me to her father's house to show the stone grinder with an owl's head that she recovered.

She was proud to show off her childhood discovery and, I think , to have someone who was interested.

The walk through the village and hike to get to the art was half the fun.

You Might Also Like:
bottom of page