15 September 1998
Cuba finds bones of ancient Indian population

                  HAVANA, Sept 15 (Reuters) - Cuba on Tuesday announced the discovery
                  of 2,000-year-old human bones and pottery-work belonging to an
                  indigenous people who lived on the Caribbean island.

                  Local scientists said the remains -- from the Siboney tribe that inhabited
                  Cuba until the 16th-century Spanish Conquest -- were uncovered by
                  erosion and rock movements at a former burial site in the central highland
                  region, Jibacoa valley.

                  "Fragments of ceramic also appeared, showing the level of development
                  achieved by these native inhabitants of the Jibacoa valley more than 2,000
                  years ago," said a report in Cuba's official daily newspaper Granma.

                  The location of the remains implied there had been floods during that era, "so
                  the inhabitants had to climb the mountain-sides to carry out the burials,"
                  Granma added.

                  Scientists made the discovery during a major search of the zone intended to
                  shed more light on the island's indigenous past. No other details of the find
                  were available.

                  The Spanish Conquest ravaged Cuba's native population through war and
                  disease. Few direct descendants of Indian tribes remain in Cuba, where
                  most of the 11 million inhabitants are of European or African descent.

                  Copyright 1998 Reuters Limited.