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Journey to the Past

Sometimes in life it’s good to just go out on a whim and say “Yes!” to things. That’s how I managed to go from singing at a karaoke bar to seeing REAL HUMAN SKELETONS all in the span of about 10 or less hours. Did I catch your attention?


El Caño is an archaeological site in Aguadulce; a town in Coclé. In 1973 the land had been purchased and it was to be turned into a sugar cane field. However, when they started tilling they found pottery and other remnants of civilizations past. Namely; tombs. What they had thought were naturally formed hills were actually man-made graves to entomb important people in society. What did some of these important people do? Some were hunters—we can tell this from the necklaces they were wearing when they were buried. The ones that were buried in boxes were shamans, artists, and doctors. When these people died their bodies were placed on a table to decompose. While they decomposed birds would eat the body. This was thought to purify the body before burial—in fact they wouldn’t bury a body at all! They would bury the skeleton.


Don’t worry—It gets even more interesting. These people believed in reincarnation so when the chief died they killed his entire posse along with him. That means family, servants, even pets! They would all be buried alongside him so that he could take them with him to his next life. Now if you’re wondering how a seemingly monarchal system functioned if all the heirs were killed, I’m with you. Luckily, ancient society had a solution for this. The chief would have many wives and the first that gave birth to a son was called the Espaver. She wore short skirts and covered the visible parts of her body in gold. The son that she gave birth to was the only one not killed alongside the family and would take over the role of chief.


Parts of El Caño are still being unearthed. They discovered the tomb of a king that stretches 500 acres! What we know is that the bodies discovered here are of an indigenous pre-Columbian people that were highly spiritual and had many rituals for taking care of their dead. They believed in reincarnation and cleansing bodies before burial. And, were it not for someone looking to plant some sugar cane, we might never have discovered them.

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Photo Friday! 

So I got the chance to spend a day in Colón to see the “cristo negro” or “black Jesus” festival! Portobello, where the festival is held, is an absolutely stunning part of Panama. It’s right on the Caribbean, there are some cool ruins, and it’s only an hour and a half outside of the city! The festival is all about celebrating Jesus of Nazareth and people come from all over Panama to celebrate. People also come to the festival to atone for their sins and ask forgiveness. Some people crawl to the church (some even get hot wax dropped on them while they’re doing it) as a form of penance. I was told that usually these crawlers are theives who are asking forgiveness.  

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