Archaeological reconstruction of a vibrant past
For centuries man from the mainland and adjacent islands visited the archipelago Los Roques attracted by natural resources specially Botuto (Strombus Gigas or King conch) the fish from the reefs, lobsters, turtles, marine birds, wood from mangrove, salt and guano. The great distance from the coast, the aridness of its soils and the lack of fresh water did not prevent man form arriving in these islands in search of resources that did not exist or were scarce in the continent. However the economic resources were only part of the attraction of these islands. The archipelago was also food for the world of ideas and the spiritual life of visitors.
Today the many natural settings of the archipelago attract a limited amount of tourists, national and international. The visitor finds great pleasure in the whiteness of the sand, the blue waters of the sea and its spectacular sunsets. But, is modern man the only one destined to value and enjoys the scenic charm and other ethereal properties of Los Roques? Certainly not. This visitor finds himself at the end of a long chain of human beings who have visited these islands and have given them a wide range of meanings that go beyond the search of food and raw materials. From far away times some locations in the archipelago remained in the minds of visitors as favorite places for fishing, fine ports, reference points for navigators, ideal beaches for swimming or places where accidents or unusual things happened. Other meanings of the island landscape could have been deeply symbolic, related to mythical beings that could have lived here or passed through the islands in their adventures of immemorial times.The general aspect of these ocean islands has not changed much in over one thousand years. However, just like the images of a kaleidoscope, the archipelago Los Roques has been part of “different worlds“. We can imagine how different these islands were perceived by the Amerindian navigator who carried out ceremonies with dance and music; the conqueror who raised a flag on the beaches, the pirate who looked for temporary hiding place for his ship and treasure or the fisherman from nearby Margarita who found here “the promised land“.
The following sections summarize results of many archaeological studies, field work and long term historical studies done in these islands. This vision of the past produced by science can be used by a sensitive visitor as a parting point to build his/her own vision of the past of these islands. See also map of Los Roques.