Ceramic Farmers in Media Luna

Ceramic Farmers in Media Luna : a human wave arrived in Cuba around 1500, through the arc of the Antilles, north of Venezuela, from the Orinoco river basin. They differ from the previous groups by a greater development of the productive forces, a higher level of their technical complex. Experienced farmers, they mastered pottery and processed cassava in a very particular way to obtain tortas de casabe, the Indian bread. They are located in the most dissimilar areas: Holguín , Guantánamo , Santiago de Cuba , Granma , Camagüey , Ciego de Ávila , central provinces and even north of Matanzas and Havana .


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  • 1 Inhabited sites in Media Luna
  • 2 Physical characteristics
  • 3 Pottery
  • 4 Agriculture
  • 5 Hunting, fishing and animal husbandry
  • 6 religious rites
  • 7 Toponymy
  • 8 Sources

Inhabited sites in Media Luna

In the municipality, two sites belonging to the early agro-potter have been detected:

  • The first of them is in a pasture known as Bagazal and that the popular voice has baptized as “Los Indios”, between the basins of the Tana and Caney rivers: the land has been plowed and the archaeological material appears altered and very scattered. A large number of snails appear to the surface, fragments of very roughly made clay, among which pieces of vessels, rims, handles and remains of burenes are collected. Two bell-shaped pits have been found in stone, one of them is a work of art, more than 30 cm long, polished, perfectly symmetrical and with a stone ring carved near its apex. Polished petaloid axes have been collected that probably belong to this site.
  • The other site is located in the place known as Palenque de Gorito, on the banks of the Macaca River: it was discovered by Dr. Manuel Sánchez Silveira in the first half of the 20th century, the washout of the waters and human action have destroyed all evidence , they discovered there an open-air cemetery where they exhumed human remains with clay pots placed as helmets on the skulls of the corpses.

Physical characteristics

The aborigines who inhabited Media Luna were short, 1.58 m for males and 1.48 m for females on average.



  • These Aborigines made pillars, hammers, polished axes, burins, idols and stone pendants, wooden and stone guayos, shell artifacts, and textiles.
  • They built caneyes and bohíos, villages with squares. To make their ceramics they used the accordion method, they decorated them with incisions or with applications before the piece was fired. They modeled plates, pots, navicular vessels, bowls.
  • A characteristic piece is the burenes, these were thick and circular plates of fired clay on which the mass obtained from the yucca was spread to cook the cassava. This tradition is for the agro-potters. The burén identifies them.


Agriculture made them independent of the chronic nomadism suffered by the less developed ethnos. They even practiced it in karst soils with little plant cover. They practiced cultivation in fields and in heaps (a kind of beds with topsoil). They thus cultivated bitter yucca, sweet potato, corn, beans of various kinds, chili peppers, tobacco and cultivated cotton; they also planted fruit trees.

Hunting, fishing and animal husbandry

They hunted, fished, and gathered, using incredibly effective skills. They settled near the mouths of rivers and along their channels, near the coasts or inland. They used canoes (cayucos), hooks made of shells and fish bones, plant poisons, fences on the coasts and rivers and that functioned as fish farms, chelonians. They quabbed, handled the harpoon, hunted hutías with the help of trained dogs (mute dogs), domesticated birds and kept hutías in captivity.

Religious rites

Their funeral rites and customs had some interesting peculiarities. They buried their dead in their own dwelling places; either in caves or in cleared areas. Thus, they used lapels and caves, frequently, for their funeral rites. These rites, as is the case in general throughout the primitive community, and even much later, were related to ancestor worship and totemic beliefs after the well-known process of divinization. Animism is also present, which is deduced from the presence of funeral offerings in their burials; sometimes they buried their dead more than once, (secondary burials), all associated with a complex mortuary rite. Sometimes an orientation of the bodies with the skull facing east is appreciated. Among the offerings appear ornaments,

Place names

Their traces remained in our toponymy, the names of the rivers, streams and towns of Media Luna demonstrate this: Tana, Cajobabo, Yaragabo, Macaca, Vicana, Guarajabo, Sibama, Caney and the Guayos.


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