Raphael

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On Thursday, September 5, 2013 the almost complete group of archaeology sleuths met at the small marina at the bay of Piscadera. There we parked our cars and walked a small distance before we entered the vegetation. We had several targets for this day: we wanted to check the country house, we wanted to search for remnants of slave habitation near the country house and we hoped to find another set of indigo tanks in this area. We succeeded in some of this areas but for some of us this day turned out to be a very intense one.

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The vegetation in this area was not too dense. That is what we expected because in the past this area was made accessible by Uniek Curaçao. But apparently this is quite some time ago because we couldn't find any trace of a trail. Not really a problem for us because we don't need paths to find our way. 
On the way to the country house the group split up. François and Fred went looking for the remnants of slave habitation and the others went directly to the country house. François and Fred found lots of artifacts that clearly showed that people have lived in this area in the past. No foundations or other remnants of huts, but sufficient indications to request further archaeologic research in that area. 
The country house was not more than a ruin. The time did a lot to cause this but also the excavation (mining of diabaas) destroyed parts of the country house as can be seen in the picture to the left. This is not how we as a country should treat our cultural heritage.

In the past this was an impressive two-story country house with a storage building next to it (magazina). Small details show how magnificent this country house was. There is a stair made from IJsselstones and the outside of the former kitchen has a very nice arched entry and windows embedded in IJsselstones (see pictures below). At the former entrance there is one small piece that shows that it was a two story building. Only a corner of the second floor is what is left. The front had very nice sculpted pillars on both sides of the stair leading to the entrance. The wood that was used in the construction of this house shows extremely dense yearly growth rings. Very dense and sturdy building material. Next to the house is the large water tank. Interesting detail is an opening near the bottom of the tank where water could be taken from the tank.

After a rest we proceeded to the many wells and dams that are visible on the Werbata map. One of the wells has a very special structure of apparently concentric rings. A large tree is now growing in that well. In one of the dams we found several sluices. This was apparently a water-rich area. 

While most of the group was resting Fred decided to go looking for another well. I followed him and Hetty joined us soon after. But almost immediately we got stuck in an area completely overgrown by Palu di Lechi. That is a plant with very tough vines. There was no way we could get trough them so we decided for another approach, walking on top of this dense vegetation. We expected this wall of Palu di Lechi being only a small obstacle after which we could proceed in a 'normal' way. But that turned out to be completely different. As far as we could see from the top of the vegetation the area was completely covered by this species. We tried to make the best of it by staying as much as possible on top but not everywhere the vegetation was dense enough to support us. But most of the time we were between 1 and 2 meters above the ground. There were places where the stick that Fred was using couldn't touch the ground. A special experience but also a very tiresome one. We had only 85 meters to go to reach the location where the well was supposed to be. We reached that location but didn't find the well, which is not so strange. We could have walked over it without seeing it. The way back was even more difficult because we were very tired and it was very hot. Our rests came more and more frequently and became longer each time. Luckily we had warned the others by phone not to follow us. We were still trying to get out of the dense vegetation when we got a phone call that the others were already back at the cars.
Finally we reached the dam where we 2.5 hours before started our adventure. From there it was relatively easy to get back to the cars.

So we didn't find the well and we certainly didn't find indigo tanks, but we are an experience richer.

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