Bicento - plantation house and well

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Bicento 20160818 048 smallOn August 18, 2016 the Archaeology sleuths went to Bicento. Bicento is a so called kunuku (smaller area than a plantation, used for agriculture) and can be found along the road from the Weg naar Soto to Ascencion. At the corner of this road there is a bistro called Laternu. We got permission from the owner of this restaurant to park our cars in his parking lot. We met at 7.45 AM at this parking lot. The group consisted this time of Hetty, François, Fred, Carel, Eddy and me. Around 8 AM we started our hike along this road to the kunuku Bicento. In front of the kunuku we found a sign that announces that this 'plantation' (according to the sign) is for sale. There we entered the area.

After a while we got to the old road that led to the (plantation) house of this kunuku. The only remnants of this road are some stones, most probably a kind of foundation for this road. We tried to follow this road in the hope that this old road would be relatively free of vegetation. That hope proved to be vain because we had to find our way through a lot of Prickly pear cacti, Palu di lele and Wabi. Rather soon we encountered more and more artifacts proving that this area was used in the past. We didn't find any agricultural artifacts but a lot of pieces of gin jars and case bottles. Not that this proves that the inhabitants were heavy drinkers; most probably these bottles and jars were used, after the initial content was consumed, for water.

We went in the direction of some concentrations of high columnar cacti, because often these grow at locations where people have lived in the past. The Werbata map shows a rectangle of 'green walls' enclosing some buildings. In the most Northern part of this rectangle we found a ruin, that Father Brenneker in one of his booklets describes as the remnants of a storage building for corn. After close inspection Fred and I concluded that this building is originally constructed as a water storage for the main building. Inside the ruin we found two overflows for water and a bit higher in the wall an inlet for water. Also the inside corners of this building have plaster to created rounded corners, which is common in water buildings and not in storage buildings (magazinas). The one element that disproves our theory that this is a former water building is the door opening. Most probably this opening is created later as can be seen from the use of other building material than for the rest of the building. Also the fact that there is a window in this building does not contradict its use as a water building. The window is above the level of the overflows and could have been used to get water from the building (similar to the water building at Fort Beekenburg).

Next to the building we found the remants of a large rectangular building and the foundation of another part of the same building. One of the foundations ends behind the water building close to where the water inlet can be seen inside that water building. So most probably the roof of this fomer (plantation) house has been used to feed the water building with water from its roof. Even though this is officially not a plantation I would like to call this building the plantation house Bicento.

When we wanted to continue our hike it started to rain. We decided to take shelter in the water building, even though this has no longer a roof. Staying close to the wall we were able to stay reasonably dry.
After the rain we went in the direction of a well indicated on the Werbata map. According to the same Father Brenneker, there is a very nice well in this area. Unfortunately we had to walk through an area with a lot of moist Manzaliña trees. Luckily nobody developed serious blisters during the trip. We didn't find the well at the location indicated on the map. But after a while we did find a most impressive and magnificent well with a water tank attached to it and two pillars standing on the rim of the well. Between these two pillars there must have been a beam and pulley to lower a bucket into the well. In one of the pillars an inscription can be found: Gerhard Lupke, Ao 1739 den 17 febr. So apparently this well dates back to February 17, 1739, Gerhard Lupke most probably being the owner of this kunuku at that time.
We cleared the well from some overgrowing Wabi trees to get a better view of the well. A beautiful historical piece that hopefully will be conserved by the future owners of this area.

After this find we continued our hike in the direction of a dam, which we found, and then back to our cars. But before we went back home, we took some drinks at Bistro Laternu.