Two ballcourt sites on the island have been restored and opened to the
public.One is Caguana, near Utuado in the center of the island and the
other is Tibes, just north of Ponce on the south coast. Both of them have
about ten parallel courts, some small and low, others very large. Some
are decorated with bas-relief human and bird figures. The courts were called
"batays", a word that seems to appear in Classic Maya inscriptions in reference
to ball playing. The Puerto Rican
people seem unaware of the importance of these centers as focuses of early island nationality.
Christopher Jones is a researcher of Maya archaeology at the University
of Pennsylvania Museum. He excavated four ball courts at Tikal and two
at Quirigua and has written extensively
about the game. Recent trips to Puerto Rico and Santo Domingo were partially spent searching for these ancient batays of the Taino people.
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