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New archeological discovery on Zapatera Island | Nov 26, 2007

A group of journalists, together with inhabitants from the island and Rafael Córdova, posing in front of one of the rocks with petroglyphs. Picture of Orlando Valenzuela, courtesy of newspaper La Prensa.

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The accidental discovery of several rocks covered in interesting pre-Columbian petroglyphs was reported by the national newspaper La Prensa today, Monday, 26 November. The rocks, larger than an average person, were found in an infrequently visited part of the National Park Zapatera Island, on Lake Nicaragua.

According to the newspaper article, two young farmers from the island took notice of the engravings, which they had already seen before, but had never checked closely. The discovery took place on July 10th of this year, on top of the hill Santa Julia, located in a remote part near the center but towards the more northeastern region of the island.

The discovery was unknown to the public till now, with Rafael Córdova, one of the owners of land on the island, offering the media a visit to the site. According to Córdova, it takes a two and a half hours horse ride to reach the area.

In a telephone conversation with, Córdova explained that four rocks were found in vertical position, all around two and a half meters in height and maximally one and a half meters in width. The rocks are covered in petroglyphs and formed a circular shape, with between two and three meters between each. Rocks of smaller size are sparsely spread over the area, some of which having similar engravings, though in lesser quantities.

Zapatera Island has become known as a sanctuary for the large quantities of indigenous petroglyphs, statues and ceramics that are found. The new site of findings has caused speculations about the importance of these rocks in possible pre-Columbian rituals. The elevated location dominates nearly entire Zapatera, as well as the surrounding islands and the Asese peninsula, near Granada. This location seems to suggest its importance as a ceremonial site, according to the Nicaraguan scientist Rigoberto Navarro, as published in the aforementioned article.

Rafael Córdova said to hope to use the visit of Spanish and Mexican scientists to take them to the newly found discoveries to hear get the impressions from these experts. The visit of the scientists will take place in several months, and aims at analysis of petroglyphs found on the Isla Del Muerto, one of the islets close to Zapatera.

For more information on the National Park Zapatera Island, please consult our special on Zapatera Island.

To read the article in La Prensa, click here.