Historical Treasures Discovered at the Panama Canal

Snapshot of a Brazilian flag high mast sailing vessel transiting through Miraflores Locks at the Panama Canal at its Pacific Ocean entrance. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

The Panama Canal expansion work has uncovered an unexpected trove of archeological and paleontological treasures, scientists said, as the massive construction project winds down.

Workers who have blasted through mountains and dug up thick vegetation, have also uncovered the fossils of some 3,000 invertebrates and 500 vertebrates, as well as of more than 250 plants—including the remains of a forest consumed by fire after a volcanic eruption.

Experts hired by the Panama Canal Authority have identified remains of camels, crocodiles, the teeth of a giant shark, as well as bones of other animals millions of years old.

Dredging work in Lake Gatun and the excavation of tons of earth also uncovered fragments from hundreds of years of human habitations—from pre-Colombian through colonial and provincial times, through independence, which began in 1903.

Artifacts include pottery shards, arrowheads and items buried during a pre-Colombian funeral. Also found was a dagger from the 16th century, a chimney from 1908, and a collection of bottles, wagons and buckets used to mix cement during the canal’s first wave of construction.

For the past seven years, Panama has been working to add a third set of locks to the canal, to nearly triple its capacity.

The expansion was initially scheduled to finish this year, in time for the centennial anniversary, but has now been pushed back to January 2016.


4 thoughts on “Historical Treasures Discovered at the Panama Canal”

  1. Thank you Joe. This has been a landmark discovery for those interested in knowing how the Isthmus of Panama was formed millions of years ago. Finding the skeleton of a camel in this part of the world is remarkable.

    Have a great day. It’s pouring cats and dogs outside. We’re in the middle of the rainy season in Panama, and when it rains, it really pours.



  2. What wonderful finds. Apart from the artifacts, I really was intrigued by the evidence of a volcanic eruption. And it’s neat that they found more modern things, too, like the evidence of the Canal’s initial construction.

    Apart from all that, what a great photo of the tall ship. Sheer elegance!

  3. That’s the beauty of having a blog. You learn new things every day from your readers and by researching the Internet for future blog posts.

    I was surprised to learn that they found the skeleton of a camel in this part of the world. Amazing!

    Sailing ships are always a grand view.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s