Porto Marie, plantation house and village

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Porto Marie Landhuis 20150319 023 smallOn Thursday, March 19, 2015 we went to the plantation of Porto Marie. Not our first time but there is still enough to investigate. This time we visited the ruin of the plantation house and went searching for the remains of the small village on the same side of the asphalt road as the ruin of the plantation house. On the Werbata map dating from the beginning of the 20th century a lot of small houses are marked to the North-East of the plantation house. An extra reason to investigate this area is because the management of Porto Marie asked us to find out if anything of historical value is present in this area so that future plans can take this into account.

We met in front of the gate at 8 AM; at that time the area is not open for public yet, but someone would come to open the gate for us. We had two guests this day, Chris Winkel and Charles Do Rego. Inside the plantation we parked the cars close to the dirt road that leads to the ruin of the plantation house. From there we continued on foot.

The plantation house apparently burnt down after it was hit by lightning in 1929 (information from Robert Rojer through Gerard van Buurt); luckily the ruin is still there. From the dirt road there is a wooden stair to get onto the elevated floor. It is a large floor on which some of the walls of the plantation house are still present. On the other side the original stone stairs are in reasonable conditiion although a bit overgrown by vegetation. Under the floor a water cellar is built. The entrance is a rectangular opening in the floor. From there I took a peek under the floor with my camera; there appears to be an arched opening into a second chamber. In the outside wall an overflow can be found. According to Chris Winkel the large floor also contributed in catching rain water apart from the water coming from the roof. An interesting thougth. That would also explain why there is an entrance into the water cellar in that floor.

Next to the ruin of the plantation house there is a large coral and what could be the remains of a stable for 4 horses. From there we went to the modern dwelling house that currently is no longer inhabited. Next to this house there are two magazinas and a ruin of a small house. The smallest of the two magazinas is largely in the original state, at least on the outside. The larger of the two is completely modernized and half open. Attached is a newly built apartment.

Our next target was the area where the village was supposed to be. That appeared to be an area completely covered by large fields of Prickly pear cacti, pillar cacti and other vegetation. Not an easy area to look for remnants of these houses. Nevertheless we soon found a first floor. And we continued finding remnants of foundations, floors, an entrance with two steps and an exit of a house. Also lots of artifacts consisting of gin jars, kitchenware, glass bottles, a piss pot, a hinge pin and an old iron. More than enough proof of the presence of the former village. And the Werbata map proofed to be quite accurate in this area because most findings are close to the location where houses are marked on the map. One of the house we found was reasonably intact; it was a two-room house; the walls were partly intact but the roof is completely gone.
That concluded our search; we followed the dirt road in the direction of the new asphalt road along which our cars were parked.
An interesting trip; only disadvantage: I still find spines of the Prickly pear in my legs after 4 days. But that comes with this 'job'.