Talgua is a town located 2.5 miles to the east of Catacamas in the department of Olancho. In 1994 a group of young explorers, Jose Yanez and Desiderio Reyes took a group of classmates to a cave known by locals near a village called Talgua. On that day they explored a tunnel that had a great amount of human bones and two jars that were almost intact. The bones looked well kept and had an especial shine to them. This was the beginning of a series of scientific investigations that still continue.
These investigations are led by scientists from a number of American universities and by the Honduran Institute of Anthropology and History. One of the bones was taken to a lab and after a series of tests doctors found that it belonged to a 30-50 year old woman, member of a civilization that according to their estimates, lived in the area between the year 600 and 900 A.D.
The bones inside the cave, which is calculated to be about 30 million years old, were supposedly placed inside containers once the flesh had been removed from them. These discoveries amaze more specialists each day, including anthropologists, geologists, bone specialists, and archeologists, among others who are studying this great discovery to human kind.
To reach the bones you need to walk more than one kilometer after entering the cave crossed by a creek and then climb a 30 feet high wall. The manner in which the bones are placed makes you think that they were positioned due to religious purposes as they are to be found in groups and tied up. The redness of bones belonging to arms and legs is amazing since they contain certain iron oxides and hematite.
After researching the artifacts specialists say that the average height of these people was of 5 feet 9 inches. The theories about why these people were buried here are many; including religious theories due to the importance native groups gave to spirituality and the belief that caves were the entrance to sacred regions. This tradition started in Oaxaca, Mexico and went on into Guatemala and the rest of the Central American highlands, even though no other similar discovery has been produced in the rest of the Mayan lowlands. Because of this theories about Talgua are still being argued on in view of the fact that it is located in lowland.
These finding has led national authorities in Culture and Arts to create a National Reserve and an archeological park, even though the caves are in Rodolfo Moya’s private property. He does not oppose research but requests that he be paid for his land.
Other findings include paintings made of coal and several monticules that in the view of Christopher Begley, from the Anthropology Department of the University of Chicago, were made to place a structure on them, including mud and stick houses.
Marco Rietti, one of the researchers says that at least six more caves have been identified in the sector. There is also a rock formation in the shape of a ramp using stones from the Talgua River that were perhaps used to cover one of the monticules. No evidence of vertical walls has been found unlike the Mayan areas. Experts are still not clear whether this region was religious or not as many believe it was a public area, since there was at least one building on the monticules.
During the excavations an 8 feet landfill of river rocks has been uncovered. This supposedly indicates that the area was filled because there is a lot of sand in the area, so the area near the caves was probably a large plaza. Geologists agree that no natural phenomenon can arrange stones in such a way so there is no doubt that it were a man made landfill, similar to other Middle American cultures in the Mayan region.
Preliminary deductions present the idea that this community had economic and ideological contact with other groups as volcanic glass for the elaboration of cooking and hunting utensils has been found, this material is not native to these region, and neither is the ceramic and jade that probably came from the Sula Valley.
How do I get to the Talgua Caves?
You may reach the Talgua Caves by land from Tegucigalpa by driving 130 miles in the paved highway that takes you to Catacamas in the Department of Olancho and continue driving 2.5 miles on a secondary road until you reach the Talgua Caves Visitors Center.
The park itself is a perfect combination of nature and archaeology that starts in the public parking at its main entrance and goes on with a walking tour on a well marked safe path of about half a mile. As you walk you will get in touch with the tropical forest, the singing of the birds, and the rushing of the crystal clear waters of the Talgua River, which is born inside the park.
You may come and go the same day by leaving the capital city in the early morning, though it is quite tiresome. You may also spend the night in a modes hotel in Catacamas. If you prefer to travel with us please check the Tours in Tegucigalpa that include a visit to this beautiful place. In case this is not what you have in mind call us so we can arrange whatever you desire for your vacation.