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Batey at the Parque Ceremonial Indigena Caguana, Utuado, Puerto Rico | by Fernando Cuevas
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Batey at the Parque Ceremonial Indigena Caguana, Utuado, Puerto Rico

Batey was the name given to a special plaza around which the native Caribbean Taino Indians built their settlements. It was usually a rectangular area surrounded by stones with carved symbols known as petroglyphs.

 

The batey was the area in which batey events (e.g. ceremonies, the ball game, etc.) took place. The batey ceremony (also known as batu) can be viewed from some historical accounts as more of a judicial contest rather than a game. Because historical accounts of the game and court space come from (mostly Spanish) European explorers, the true nature, history, and function of the batey is still contested. It is often considered that players from neighboring tribes would come together and play, making it an effective way of resolving differences rather than by fighting.

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Taken on July 27, 2007