San Juan - hofi

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SanJuan Hofi 20140925 024 smallOn Thursday September 25 the archaeology sleuths went to the plantation of San Juan. The cars were parked close to the magazina. From there we walked to the North. We wanted to go to the large roi that flows in the direction of the large San Juan bay. Unfortunately we were blocked by a very dense vegetation of Palu di lechi. We continued looking for a way to enter the area by going to the East. There we found  a place where the vegetation was less dense. After a while the area became more open, something we had expected for an area that is shown on the Werbata map as a hofi.

We followed the roi in the direction of a large well on the map. Fred saw that well but saw also something else, a large tanklike structure completely covered with Palu di lechi. On closer look we started to suspect that this could be an indigo tank. After clearing the area from the Palu di lechi we could take a better look. The outside wall seemed to be the wall between the top tank and the middle tank. We found traces of watertight plaster with embedded IJssel brick in one of the corners. This is a common feature for indigo tanks. Then we started looking for the opening between the top and the middle tank. This opening should be in the middle of the width of the middle tank. Based on an estimate of that width we found the watertight plaster that lined the bottom part of that opening. The remainder of that opening was gone. But this was a second indication that this could be an indigo tank. The top tank was completely filled with rocks so it was unclear if this was a tank. François started removing rocks from the inside of the top tank and by doing so was able to clear part of the front wall of that tank and a corner. This was proof that the top structure was also a tank. All in all sufficient indication that this was an indigo tank. The top tank is probably completely intact although filled with rocks. The middle tank is mostly gone. Only the part that is connected to the top tank including the corners is still there; the rest of this tank is gone and there is no trace of the smallest tank.
The large well completed the picture. This provided the water that was needed for the process. Also this well is completely filled up.
A great find. Remarkable is the close distance to the plantation house. About 150 meters from the main building in North North-Western direction.

After a short break we continued our hike in the roi. The vegetation was more open. Lots of Manzaliña trees. In the hofi we found large coconut trees. Fred was able to open one of the nuts with brute force by putting a sharp stone underneath the nut and throwing a large rock repeatedly on top of the nut till it split open. The outer shell was removed by hand and then the inner nut was broken by hitting it repeatedly against a rock. After some of us took a sip of the milk Carel was able to cut the cocos from the shell with his knife. We all ate the great tasting fresh cocos. It tasted so good that we asked Fred to climb the tree again to get another coconut. He came back so quickly that we doubted that he climbed the tree to get the nut. After we drank and ate from this second nut François started hiking in the direction of the bay. He came back soon because the way was blocked by a dense wall of Mangrove plants. Fred, Hetty and I decided to climb the nearby hill to enjoy the view and to search for a wall that was marked on the Werbata map. We didn't find the wall, but the view on the plantation house was very nice. We could also see from the hill that there were no cocos palms where the second hofi was marked on the map. After descending, we still decided to go in the direction of that second hofi. Indeed no cocos palm trees but we found two impressive Mahok trees.

From there we had to walk back in the direction of the indigo tank because the area that we wanted to investigate was completely covered with Palu di lechi and impenetrable.

We crossed the dirt road and went to the large dam. According to the Werbata map there should have been an earthen dam but it appeared to be a large stone dam. At one end there was a tanki. We found several concrete floors in this area. We took a rest on one part of the dam and walked back to our cars.

We ended the hike in the restaurant Dokterstuin where we celebrated the birthday of Carel.

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