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The National Park of Serra da Capivara, in Piauí, which clusters over 800 archaeological sites with human trace of possibly 50,000 years, hosts the new museum in December

The largest set of archaeological sites in Brazil is found in the countryside of Piauí, in the city of São Raimundo Nonato – over 800 of them can be found at Serra da Capivara National Park. The local, chosen by Unesco a World Heritage Site since 1991, is about to receive a new attraction: The Nature Museum, scheduled to open on December 18th.

According to Fundação Museu do Homem Americano (the American Man Foundation – Fumdham), which  administers the National Park and is headed by the French archaeologist Niède Guidon, the new cultural complex will gather materials with contents from the creation of the universe to the emergence of human beings and their relation to nature.

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“When we created the Museum of the American Man, there was also a section dedicated to fossils, geological surveys and the nature of the region. But the human collection grew so much that we had to remove the nature section,” explains Guidon in an interview to Fapesp magazine.

“In the new museum, we will introduce our region to the public, as well as highlight the climate changes and geological events that happened here over the years. Until 9 thousand years ago, we had part of the Amazon Forest at Serra da Capivara, and here in the lowlands, we had the Atlantic Forest. It was a meeting point of the two biomes. With climate changes, the forest disappeared and the Caatinga took over. Even today, there are animal and plant species from these two biomes that survived here,” said the archeologist.

Which attractions will be at the Museum

With a perimeter of over 130,000 hectares, the Nature Museum has a collection of fossils, found in the region, replicas of life-size stuffed prehistoric animals, such as giant sloths and mastodons, and a short movie about the human impact on the balance of the Earth, narrated by Maria Bethânia.

The building was financed by the National Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES) at the cost of R$ 13 million. “The architectural form aims to replicate one of the paintings found at the local. There will be 4 thousand square meters of built area inside the park area, with a view to one of the local attractions, Pedra Furada – a big-sized rock with a hole in it. Under the rock there will be an auditorium where Fumdham will promote cultural events”, explained Luiz Eugenio Ciampi, director of the office responsible for the project, AD Architecture, in an interview to the specialized website AECWeb.

Near the museum, a 29,000 square meter hotel and resort is planned to be built with a view to the canyon complex of the National Park. According to the project, the touristic building will own 128 standard apartments plus 32 special suites.

Pintura rupestre do Parque Nacional da Serra da Capivara. Crédito: Ministério da Cultura

What is the Capivara National Park

Officially founded in 1979, the National Park has a set of lowlands and valleys that shelter archaeological sites with paintings and rock engravings, as well as other vestiges of prehistoric daily life – there are already more than 30 thousand articles found.

These collections of elements of prehistoric people incite large debates about their dating: some archeologists argue that they are from 12,000 years ago, while others state that they are way before that, with over 50 thousand years of history.

Currently, there are over 30 site ready for visitation, such as the Salitre caves, Boqueirão da Pedra Furada, Caldeirão do Rodriguez and Baixão das Mulheres. The access can be simpler, by car, or the tourist can choose to explore adventure hikes of different levels of difficulty. Altogether, the National Park has over 450 kilometers of roads and hikes. The Museum of the American Man is placed at the urban region of São Raimundo Nonato. The museum hosts implements, ceramics and archaeological vestiges of the human being in the American continent.

Content published in January 16, 2019

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