May 12, 2001        Christopher Jones: "The Ballcourts of Puerto Rico"

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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