Saturday, June 11, 2011

Aruba's Archaeological Museum

For those in love with Caribbean vacations, one should consider a trip to Aruba. This small but beautiful island has an international flavor with a taste of European,African, and American influences. For the cultural tourist one can sample a taste of the rich history with a number of fine museums in the area, especially with the newly renovated National Archeological Museum of Aruba.

This bright and attractive museum was revamped in 2009 and designed purposely to preserve valuable artifacts. A grand opening fitting royalty was visited by Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of Holland in July of 2009. The museum is housed in the historical Ecury Complex, the home of a prosperous merchant and grandfather of a national martyr, Boy Ecury. Here the visitor can step back in time with a variety of both visual and audio displays of Aruba's past. Displays are divided up into the three periods of Amerindian habitation; the Pre-Ceramic, the Ceramic,and the Historic.

Inside the museum the visitor will find a enormous amount of ceramics in a variety forms that include pottery, micro-beads and other curious shaped items. A feel for how these cultures lived can be found with an authentically reproduced Amerindian circular shaped hut called a Maloca, a model of a shell midden and the favorite of many visitors, a model of a cave which one can enter to amaze themselves with light display showing the indian rock art of the caves found in Aruba's wilderness.

One learns of the indigenous people of Aruba, a tribe of the Arawak Indians called the Caquetio which originated from the Amazon Basin about 3500 years ago. A stone planer artifact demonstrates how this culture was innovative in developing tools for woodworking. Shaman from this tribe are thought to have created the rock art; petroglyphs and pictographs, that can be found throughout the wilderness areas of Aruba. The artwork is considered unique in the Caribbean, not only because of their quantity but with the use of multiple colors in single drawings. Experts can only speculate what the artist had in mind when they drew them, theories range from doodling to drawings by shamans that result in portals to another dimension.

The quality of this museum is evident from the hard work of the dedicated archeologists and support staff. Become a follower and learn more of the fascinating history of Aruba with a future article about the team of professionals that make this museum what it is, and another article about the ancient rock art found in the caves and boulders in the wilderness areas. As usual with this author's stories, enjoy the colorful and fascinating slide shows that accompany these stories.

Open: Tuesday - Friday, 10 am - 5 pm

Schelpstraat 42
Oranjestad, Aruba
Phone +297 582 8979 /