Oldest Human Presence in Paraguay Found in Jasuka Venda
By Dialogo March 03, 2009While investigating the cultural legacy of the indigenous Paî Tavyterâ people, a team of Spanish experts has found in Paraguay the remains of a human being that date back 5,000 years. The discovery, in the department of Amambay, more specifically in a hill known as “Jasuka Venda,” was found by a team from the Museum of Altamira, which is the custodian of information on the Altamira Caves, located in the Spanish Cantabrian coast, and which is the main exponent of cave art from the Upper Paleolithic period. The Museum will present details of the discovery to the International Congress of Cave Art, which will be held next July. However, museum director José Antonio Lasheras has made plans to travel to Paraguay in the next few days to present to the Paraguayan society and the Paî people an advance report on the results. More specifically, on March 6th, Lasheras will participate in a conference with indigenous leaders and with representatives of all the communities in order to share the results of his work. Afterward, he will reveal his conclusions in two conferences that will take place at Universidad Nacional in Pedro Juan Caballero, and in the Spanish “Juan de Salazar” Cultural Center in Asunción. Today the Altamira Museum explained that, besides the most ancient human remains in Paraguay, they have also found in this hill “unprecedented until now” specimens of cave art in the “pisadas style,” which is very well known in the region, which includes Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Bolivia. According to the Spanish research team, this discovery would suggest that “this region might be the place of origin and center of dissemination of this kind of cave art to almost all of South America.” “Jasuka Venda” hill is conceived as the main cultural legacy of the Guarani tribe of Paî Tavyterâ, a place where, according to indigenous beliefs, the Creator God and the Big Grandfather, Ñande Ru, originated, and from which the world and humanity were created. The legal owner of the hill, the Paî Reta Joaju community association, took the initiative to promote the archaeological study of the area, and to request the collaboration of the Altamira Museum to make an inventory of their cultural legacy. The museum has also planned to expand the results of this research to its headquarters in Santillana del Mar, in the Cantabric region, which will soon open a temporary exhibition on the discovery. The museum also stated that the Cultural Secretary of Paraguay is interested in extending the collaboration that made this archaeological research possible, which has also been supported by the Spanish Agency of Cooperation for Development and the Spanish Ministry of Culture.