Berbice archaeology find among culture ministry’s successes

A major archaeological find in the Berbice area, which has attracted foreign researchers was among the highlights referred to yesterday when Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Frank Anthony reviewed the last year.

At a press conference where he extolled the ministry’s accomplishments for 2013, Anthony said too that the ministry was able to complete the bulk of its obligations for 2013.

Anthony said the ministry would be partnering with a number of universities

Frank Anthony
Frank Anthony

and other institutions to carry out research work at the archaeological site.

The site stretches beyond Fort Nassau area where there is a huge savannah area and Anthony said researchers had noticed a number of mounds rising up in the Savannahs that might date back before the birth of Christ and possibly the home of an ancient civilization.

If the findings are correct, Anthony said, “then it’s putting whatever civilization that was there in line with the Egyptian civilization and it would possibly be one of the earliest civilizations in South America,” he said, adding that since the site has attracted foreign researchers, the ministry would be monitoring all archeological excavations.

“We want to work to put some rules in place so that not everybody could come in…and we want local people to be involved so that we would become the custodians of the findings,” he said.

He added that it is possibly the most promising area in Guyana and South America. “But again we have to allow the research to continue and once we get more data we can definitively pronounce on these findings. Last year we did some work in demarcating the area and we have located the mounds,” he said, noting that the kind of settlement patterns that were observed were similar to settlement patterns in Suriname, French Guiana and Brazil.

“But the epicentre seems to have been in the Berbice area,” he said. He also noted that Guyana has been attracting a lot of Dutch researchers.

Meanwhile, with regard to the other sections of the ministry, he noted that a lot of focus was placed on developing skills in youths through residential and non-residential programmes.

He said much attention was placed on revising the National Youth Policy, adding that equal emphasis was placed on infrastructural development. He said the ministry was hoping to expand the Kuru Kuru Training Centre to facilitate more youth access to its programmes. The Canadian Government had provided the centre with a volunteer to develop a master plan.

“These facilities are giving [young people] the opportunity to gain a skill and become employable,” he remarked. “It’s really playing a pivotal role in helping young people…”

He said too that a lot of people have shown interest in Dutch records in the National Archives and those records are being used for publication.

He also indicated that the National Archives will continue to digitalize records.

He said a technical firm had developed software to store the records. “But this year we will focus more on sound records and also we will be exploring the possibility of video records,” he said.

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