(CNN Spanish) — A team of archaeologists working on a project that seeks to identify the first inhabitants of the Dominican Republic reported the discovery of an ancient cemetery in the area known as El Francés, at the eastern end of the Samaná peninsula, located in the northeast of the country.
Archaeologist Adolfo López, in charge of the excavation, explained to CNN that the find, which took place a few weeks ago, is the first of its kind in the Caribbean.
“What we are excavating right now is a ritual-funerary area. More than a cemetery, it is a very sacred, very magical place, where people who were among the first groups that lived on the island were buried,” said López.
So far, López and his team claim to have discovered 17 corpses, and although they have not yet determined their age, they explained that the archaic funerary complex dates back to about 3,000 years.
“We are going to work on the issue of DNA and Carbon 14 (to identify the age of the remains) with Harvard University, which is working hand in hand with us on this,” explained the archaeologist.
The project, called “Identification of the origin and affiliation of the first archaic inhabitants of the island”, consists of collecting remains of the first inhabitants of the Dominican Republic to study the DNA and the materials associated with them, to find out from which part of the continent they came. and how they developed, Lopez explained to CNN.
The team in charge of the excavation works with the Guahayona Institute, in Puerto Rico, the Museum of the Dominican Man, the National Directorate of Museums and the Vice Ministry of Protected Areas of the Dominican Republic and the García Arévalo Foundation in the investigation that they describe as unprecedented in all the Caribbean basin.