Cueva del Puente Summary Report

CUEVA DEL PUENTE

Cueva del puente is located in the northwestern region of Parque Nacional del Este and is easily accessible by foot. Specific information concerning the path was collected in order to determine the exact direction and location of the cave in relation to Guaraguao. The path that leads to Cueva del Puente begins at a GPS coordinate of N1819551 W06848550 (along the beach) and continues in an east-northeasterly direction until the mouth of the cave which is situated at N1822536 W06848607. Currently, the first two levels of the cave have been conpletely mapped. However, due to time constraints, we were unable to finish mapping the other levels.

The first level of Cueva del Puente begins at the mouth of the cave and continues for an estimated 650 feet. The first level is a long cavern with a ceiling height ranging from 8-40 and walls which vary from 20-60 in width. Throughout this level of the cave, one encounters several significant speleological features- including fractures, gours, cave pearls, diaclasas, uvas, etc.. One particular feature which shouldbe noted is that the angle of the first 450 of the first level coincides with the NE45 angle of geological fractures which extend through this specific region of the Dominican Republic. Yet, in the second 190 of the first level, the degree angle changes to a NE10 angle and continues along this second fracture until the second level is reached. Another notable feature occurs in two specific areas within the first level where the process of dissolution has weakened the ceiling structure causing it to collapse. These openings allow natural light and fresh air to penetrate into the cave.

The most significant archaeological features in this first level are two sets of petroglyphs. The first is located 34 at an 260 angle from datum point 11 and is the site inwhich a test excavation was conducted. The second set of petroglyphs are located near the entrance of the second level (10 at an 135 angle from datum 12) and are thought to resemble a lechusa orejita (small eared owl) and a guardian.

The formation of the second level in comparison with the first is extremely different. The second level tends to have smaller spaces ranging from 3-30 in height and 3-40 in width. Within it are found more archaeological features. Located in the fourth and fifth rooms of this particular level, one can see a total of twenty-one pictographs and petroglyphs. Photographs and measurements were taken of each individual piece of art in order to determine their significance and relevance within the Taino culture as well as to determine their precise location.

The excavation in Cueva del Puente was located 34 at 260 from datum point 11. It was a 1x1 meter test unit oriented due north. Four levels were excavated in 15 cm increments until solid rock was encountered at 61cmbd. The soil was a dry, sandy loam and there were no apparent changes in the structure or color of the soil throughout the different levels. In the 1/4 screen sample, numerous land and sea shells were encountered as well as faunal bones associated with small rodents. Among the four levels, the most significant features discovered were a large rib and some smaller phalanges in level two as well as a second large rib and at least nine ceramic pieces (1-3cm) in level four.