Panama Casco Viejo, Casco Antiguo
Before you restore a building in Casco Viejo, you are required to do archaeological studies. It is fascinating to see them dig and find stuff, but even more when you ask them what does it mean.
Yesterday, talking to archaeologist Tomas Mendizabal, we went through some of the bags of material he was pulling out of a recent excavation. He found out that the water well in the property was “fake” (ornamental) and that if you dig deep enough you find 19th century garbage (bones, pieces of plates and jars). Although simple, it completes a piece in the puzzle of colonial daily life. This particular house suffered through the city`s first Big Fire, but survived the others (Casco had 3). It is one of the oldest houses in the block.
We also asked him about the famous legend of the hidden “tunnels” between former churches of Casco Viejo. He says he has never bumped into them, so probably more of an urban legend than reality. The only church that has a burial site (catacomb) is the Cathedral.
Archaeology is fascinating, and the work requires patience and developing an eye. Check out the things he collected for his bags! Could you have imagined they were a hundred years old?