If the artefacts, including bones, found under the Red House are determined to be authentic Amerindian remains, then the site could be preserved as part of the refurbishment of the building, chairman of the National Trust Vel Lewis said yesterday.Speaking to the T&T Guardian in San Fernando, where he attended a meeting with mayor Dr Navi Muradali to discuss the destruction of historic buildings in the city, Lewis said the find was being studied to determine precisely what it was and if it was authentic.
He said: "It could be an Amerindian site but we want to conduct tests to be sure before we can make any declaration. Once we have established that, we would then be clearer as to how to treat with it and discuss with the Parliament how the site could be preserved within the refurbishment of the Red House.
Amerindian chief Ricardo Bharat-Hernandez believes the bones and artefacts are those of Amerindian ancestors and wants to perform a religious ceremony on the site as soon as he gets the all-clear.On Sunday, he, Lewis and archaeologists visited the site where the find was made during restoration work on the Red House being undertaken by Udecott. He said the artefacts, consisting of pottery, a piece of a pipe, which may have been used by a chief, and a bead from a necklace, have all been identified as Amerindian.
He said some verification was needed to determine the origin of the bones and whether they belonged to children or adults.Another Amerindian descendant, journalist Tracy Assing, who has made a documentary film about Trinidad's Amerindians, said the find was very important.
She said: "Unfortunately, there aren't that many digs where we only ever discover these artefacts when the lands have already been sold and something constructed. Then that becomes an issue with the landowner."In this case the Red House will continue to be built. The other issue is whether the site can be protected or if a dig can be established or expanded."