The Tibes Indigenous Ceremonial Center in Barrio Portugués, Ponce, Puerto Rico, houses one of the most important archeological discoveries made in the Antilles. The discovery provides an insight as to how the indigenous tribes of the Igneri and Taínos lived and played during and before the arrival of Christopher Columbus to the New World. Tibes is the oldest Antillean Indian ceremonial and sports complex yet uncovered in Puerto Rico. Within its boundaries is also the largest indigenous cemetery yet discovered – consisting of 186 human skeletons, most from the Igneri and the rest from the pre-Taíno cultures. Based on the orientation of the ceremonial plazas, this is also believed to be the oldest astronomical observatory in the Antilles.
The Tibes Indigenous Ceremonial Center is one of the largest and most significant Indian sites in the Caribbean islands, and is the largest ceremonial site in Puerto Rico.
The continuous occupation from Igneri to Taíno times, the presence of the large stone constructions, the presence of shell middens and stratified deposits, all afford an opportunity to investigate some of the major substantive and theoretical problems in Caribbean archeology. Besides lending itself to the traditional problems of culture, history and chronology, the site provides the ideal setting for the study of the cultural processes responsible for the transition from Igneri to Taíno cultural manifestation. There has been some controversy in the literature as to whether there was a direct unilinear, in situ, transition from one to the other or whether the two manifestations actually represent two different groups. The data at this site can contribute significantly to the resolution of this research problem, as well as to other basic questions pertaining to the changes in sociopolitical organization which may have gone along with the changes evidenced in the material culture.