However, the Cuban experience demonstrates that the anthropic affectation, either voluntary or not, is the biggest source of irreversible aggressions suffered by this manifestation (Fernández and González 2001). This bases the urgent necessity to protect the Cuban rock art registrations with effectiveness, in their environmental context, what is at least, tried to be analysed in this work related with the rock art stations of Guaniguanico Mountain Range, in the western side of Cuba.
With this objective, in the Cuban Institute of Anthropology (ICAN), during the years 2006 to 2008, the research project PNAP/0409 "Evaluation and Diagnosis of the Archaeological and Sociocultural Patrimony of Cuba" was developed by a team of the Department of Archaeology, due to the quick process of economic and social development occurred during the last decades, that has caused the affectation and/or threat to a sensitive number of archaeological places along the country.
Because of that, in June of 2007 and with
members of the Cuban Group of Rock Art Researches, it was determined to carry
out a study based on the approach accepted by the international experience,
that the bad anthropic manipulation of the ecosystems settled around rock art
stations, is the fundamental cause that provokes secondary effects such as, the
presence of microorganisms, of plants and opportunists zoological species that
damage this millennial irreversible heritage.
THE AREA OBJECT OF STUDY
In the western side of the Cuban island, two mountainous elevations are located, extended along an important area of Pinar del Río and Artemisa Provinces. This geographical accident is a mountain range well-known with the aboriginal name of Guaniguanico; it is projected almost parallel to both north and south costs, and it has several physical-geographical divisions differed to each other by its peculiar natural characteristics. The superficial extension of Guaniguanico Mountain Range is around 3 102 km2 and it spreads from West to East for about 150 kms approximately from the Cerros de Guane until the elevations located in Cayajabos, in the central part of the current Artemisa. In the north and south sectors, surrounding the mountain range, the Llanura Ondulada and the Llanura Deltaica are located, -extended around 10 and 20 km of the coast, and expanded until 20 and 30 km of the sea, respectively.
The mountain range “Sierra de los Órganos” is located in the western part of Guaniguanico, and is very old in geological terms. It exhibits a characteristic flora well-known as Vegetation Complex of Mogotes growing on the typical carsic “mogotes”, among which there are fertile valleys with floors of high quality.
In the East area of Guaniguanico, the “Sierra del Rosario” is located, the youngest section in this orographic system with altitudes over the 500 msnm., and with a vegetation of evergreen forest. The “Pan de Guajaibón” –named with another aboriginal term– is located among both mountains ranges, and it is the highest elevation of western Cuba, with 700 msnm., and similar vegetation of that of Sierra del Rosario.
The Guaniguanico mountain range, mainly constituted by calcareous rocks, concentrates some of the biggest cave systems of the country, with smaller caves and rock shelters systems in. The ancient communities, first residents of the territory, were attracted by the exploitation of the fauna and vegetation of these elevations that guaranteed the development of the survival activities of them. They used these caves taking advantage of them as establishment towns, funeral and nature magic-nun sites. These underground places have important water resources that also slip as streams of small and middle flow, favouring to the habitability conditions of the aboriginal residents. That is why it is common to find in the caverns of this wide orographic system, outstanding archaeological and rock art evidences (Chart I, figures 1).
The territory referred throughout this communication was evidently inhabited in most parts by aboriginal people belonging to fisher-gathering communities (Alonso, 1995 and Moreira, 1999), which were extended throughout the Cuban island, and, deduced by the evidences of the archaeological registration, they occupied practically the whole geographical space of the current provinces of Pinar del Río and Artemisa.
The prints of the passing of farming groups for this area, are so far quite dispersed and reduced, what seems to indicate that theirs arriving to this area was still in the exploration and recognition phase, and not in the conquest and occupation stage. This has been able to be interpreted by the study of the archaeological pieces recovered in places and caves of the provinces Pinar del Río, Artemisa, Havana and Mayabeque; or by the pictographs registered and documented in caves such as Pluma, García Robiou and Solapa de la Perdiguera, in the provinces of Matanzas, Mayabeque and Pinar del Río, respectively. On the other hand, the permanent and stable establishments of agricultural aboriginal populations in the west region of Cuba, took place after the collision with the Europeans, as well as can be interpreted through rock art manifestations like "the bovine" found in the cave system Guara, in Mayabeque territory, or as can be demonstrated it the transculturation´s ceramic sample in Guanabacoa, where the Europeans forced an aboriginal establishment.
Because of what has been previously expressed, we should consider that the fisher-gathering-hunting communities were very probably those that executed the generality of the well-known rock art manifestations in the region, accepting that the inherited registrations of these groups seem to be characterized by a tendency toward abstract forms and simple geometric representations, standing out the concentric circles.
It is also characteristic of these human collectives a style of chaotic lines, without order neither reason, as if the artist follows with the instrument the sinuosities that the selected support capriciously imposed, and where the stains are also common (Fernández et. al. 2009b), it also has been possible to appreciate that they used red and black colours like the more frequent ones (Moreira, 1999 and Fernández et. al. 2009b). Many of these elements are common in the studied stations, as well as the use of red and black pigments, which were used in 88% of the total of the analyzed places.
Authors like Rosa (1996), Alonso et. al. (2002) and González (2008) outlined that several stations can be associated with the drawing art of African origin, linked to the graphic expressions of the fugitive slaves of the coffee and sugar plantations that were abundant in the area between XVI to XIX centuries.
The radio-carbonic dates available for this territory were unfortunately not carried out directly on the rock art, but in the archaeological registrations rescued in archaeological locations, so they are associated to the base material found in the rock art stations.
In this sense, we should assume that the manifestations were carried out by fisher-gathering-hunting aboriginal communities, in one period between 3320 a.n.e. as earlier limit and 1200 d.n.e, as the late one, considering that the earlier dated one belongs to Cueva de la Lechuza in San Cristóbal municipality, with 5270 + 120 AP, and the latest to Mogote de la Cueva in Pinar del Río municipality with 650 + 200 AP (Pine, 1995: 2 and 5). However, the authors consider that this proposal should be taken just to orientate the research, first, because the experience has demonstrated that it is not always opportune to link the archaeological registration located in the rock art station, directly with the drawings, and second, due to the fact that there aren't enough quantity of absolute dates to carry out a good association between both elements.
It can be also deduced that for the few stations that are considered as the fruit of the ideological and cultural activity of the communities well-known as Farmers, Agroalfareros or Islander Taino, one of the authors (Fernández, 2012) has achieved the identification of numerous designs characteristic of their iconography and even some ideographic representations that remember to the deities of the mythological vault of these groups common to Cuba and other Antilles islands. That allows assuming as executioners of these graphic registrations to members of the Arawak linguistic branch with a producer economy and a social gentile organization (Tabío and King, 1966: 202; Guarch, 1978:108), Agroalfarero (Dacal and Rivero de la Calle; 1986: 140; Tabío, 1991: 23), nowadays denominated Farmers (Moreira, L., 1999: 149). In their unavoidable advance toward the occident of the national territory, they already began the marks that defined the new landscapes that constituted unequivocal samples of the passing by of a socially different group for the territory, to settle down and with other patterns to the selection of the sacred spaces.
In accordance with the radio-carbonic dates of the farming places obtained to Cuba, it can be determined that this stage was developed among 820 DNE (1120 + 160 to. AP), according to the older dated one obtained in Residuario del Paraiso in Santiago de Cuba (Pino, 1995: 10) and 1785 DNE (165 + 60 to. AP), obtained for Aguas Gordas in the eastern Holguín province (Pino, 1995: 11).
The threats to the rock art were explained in extensive in the article "The conservation of the Cuban rock art patrimony. Current situation and perspectives" that was published in Boletín del Gabinete de Arqueología (Gutiérrez, Fernández and González 2007). In this occasion, and seeking to be more precise, a specific area of the Cuban territory has been selected to deepen in the study of its deterioration and the threats that this archaeological region faces.
study of the environmental affectations to the graphic patrimony demanded to
divide the threats that it faces in four groups, to facilitate the better
analysis of the damages. The classification had the origin of the damages as a premise,
and they were differentiated in Natural, Industrial, Anthropic and Cultural;
those that are integrated by other groups, in dependence of the type of
threats denominated natural are those
that appear as a result of the planetary typical processes of nature, in which
the man doesn't have a primary or direct participation, such as the geological,
carsological, biological or climatic alterations. Since the point of view of
their categorization they can be subdivided in the following categories or
Geologic: In this group are included the damages taken place by the formation of deposits of carbonates on the areas with graphic representations; also those detachments or collapses of blocks or fragments of rocks as a result of the structural adjustment of the localities. The cracking or scaling is also included; it happens when there is cracking or jump of small parts of the support that contains the graph, because of the same causes that the fragmentation occurs.
Biological: Here are included the damages caused by the natural growth of mushrooms, lichens, mosses, algae, ferns and other vegetable organisms, on the supports in which the graphs were carried out. Another common phenomenon is the faecal ejections of bats, rodents, birds and other permanent or eventual inhabitants of the stations; as well as the action taken place by some animals when moving on graphs, or the construction of honeycombs and nests by insects and birds.
Climatic: In this kind of
threat are included the eolic erosion, the changes of humidity –relative
and absolute– in the caves environments, as well as the evaporation,
condensation, pressure of CO2, oxidation, and other microclimatic variables.
Those denominated industrial threats, are all the actions provoked by modern man as secondary effect by modifying the environment and the ecosystem that surrounds the stations, with the purpose of increasing the economic and industrial development.
It has been observed that in occasions, when there is a reference to the environment of the rock art stations, it is common to think in the space surrounding it, however meticulous field studies have demonstrated, for example, that the effects of the emanations of hidrosulfhuric gas of petroleum wells in the north coast of Havana province, have provoked the decalcification of the calcareous rock of the caves located in a radio of 5 Km of distance. The pictographs of Cinco Cuevas cave have been hopelessly lost due to the scaling of the rocky surface off.
The damages of industrial type can be divided in the following categories:
Mining: Linked fundamentally to the exploitation of quarries and the explosions taken place during the mining process. It is also considered the smog emanations and other gases like residual aerosols characteristic of the extraction of petroleum, natural gas, etc.
Constructive: They are associated to the construction of highways and the continuous vibrations taken place by the circulation of heavy vehicles; also, it should be considered the construction of dams and the adaptation of areas for the storage of toxic substances, chemical, and hydrocarbons, as well as the creation of micro urban towns near to the stations.
Agricultural: They are those related with the agricultural, cattle
raising and forest processes; as well as the deposition of stones, industrial
and crops waste, domestic garbage, etc. in the cavities. It is included the treatment
of ground for multiple agricultural activities that provoke microclimatic
changes as product of deforestation and/or reduction of the edaphic layer around
caves or rock shelters. Also the livestock breeding (bovine, porcine, etc.)
that establish room spaces in the caves to be protected of the sun and, they
rub their body against the walls with pictographs or petroglyphs, provoking
climatic and microbiological changes that in short and long term should
deteriorate the rock paintings.
The anthropic threats represent the actions
carried out by modern man to the rock art stations and their environment in a
direct and intentional way. These constitute, without doubts, the most abundant
and devastating damages that these ancient cultural manifestations continually
receive in whole world and Cuba is included in this reality.
Graffiti: It is the damage that has impacted the most the drawing stations in the country during the last three centuries. It consists on "decorating" the walls of the caves with signs of all kind, dates and drawings in occasions, which can be done with any material as pencils, crayons, spray or diverse varieties of pigments with acrylic and oil bases.
Rockets: It refers to two kinds of practices with similar consequences: the first, to shoot guns toward the drawings; and the second one, to throw all type of objects toward the walls or the secondary formations that support the graphic manifestations.
Overload: With this term are defined those procedures like the use of water or chalk on the pictographs and/or petroglyphs with the intention of improving the visibility and perception of them, but also it is included the contoured of the pictographs or petroglyphs to define and to stand out their borders. All these actions are executed mainly by the researchers to take the pictures or the tracing of the registrations for its documentation. The same overload takes place when someone light blazes or burn tires inside caves and rock shelters (2).
Cultural: The lack of transmission to the villagers and neighbours of the information about an archaeological site´s discovery produces the destruction or affectation of the station because of different reasons. The researchers are the main responsible of creating false expectations and concerns around the sites, instead of facilitating the custody and protection.
From the beginnings of Archaeology as a science, the protection of archaeological heritage has been one of their specialists' interests, although it has enjoyed either successes or failures in dependence on the scientific vision of the moments they lived.
In our country, different institutions from the beginnings of XX century have settled down –by means of important regulations– the handling and conservation politics of the archaeological/historical places (3); also during the revolutionary period many laws and ordinances for the patrimonial protection have been carried out, modified and applied. At the same time, institutions have been created for archaeological research and the heritage management, which have organized and carried out campaigns to rescue and salvage the places and locations; however, the lack of control and constancy on the state, conservation, and even on the strategies to continue the excavations of the places, have provoked their hopeless affectation, so the situation of the archaeological heritage is in sensitive damage at this moment (Robaina 2003).
The Cuban rock art patrimony is not an exception in the destruction of its stations, that is why a strategy became necessary to discern the main damages and threats that deteriorates it, and to design the instruments to maintain its preservation. So a methodology was implemented able to identify at least the main threats.
For the study it was used the Methodology for the Evaluation of the Environmental Impact in the archaeological places, proposed by members of the Group of Auxiliary Sciences of the Department of Archaeology in the Cuban Institute of Anthropology, belonging to the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment (CITMA), in which the Indicators are evaluated for each impact: sign, intensity, extension, moment, persistence, reversibility, recoverability, synergy, accumulation and rhythm or periodicity.
In the case object of analysis the attention was directed in those indicators that, in the best way, express the level and the intensity of the affectation: the Accumulative Effect, in which the inductor agent's action is prolonged in time, being its graveness progressively increased when the environment lacks of elimination mechanisms. It happens, for example, in the stations that the action of felling the surrounding vegetation provokes the systematic loss of the coloration of drawings because of the daily incidence of solar rays.
Synergistic Effect: It is considered when several combined impacts take place and it is verified by the simultaneous presence of several actions. The graveness is that the environmental incidence that takes place most be bigger than the supreme effect of the individual ones contemplated in isolated way. Enough examples of rock art stations exist where, due to the felling of the surrounding vegetation, they began to face strong changes of temperature between day and night. Fractures in the rock are the redundant consequence that contribute to the establishment of diverse opportunists microorganisms –lichens, mushrooms, superior plants– those which produce acids in the photosynthesis process destroying the stony support, besides the loss of coloration of the pictographs because of heatstroke.
Recoverability Effect: It is focused in the loss of a patrimony that is impossible to repair, either for natural or human action. Many pictograms have been attacked by the overwriting and graffiti’s execution that can be eliminated by lingering and expensive chemical processes; but the operation is potentially risky due to the alteration or mutilation of the petroglyphs, that can be transformed into an irreparable condition.
The importance of being able to carry out the evaluation and the diagnosis of the environmental impacts in the archaeological places consists on the possibility of planning short trips to the different areas of the national territory with or without risks of modifications, affectations or destruction. The objective of those trips is to make quick and reliable valuations that allows –by a transverse study– to know the real situation of the study areas, or, in a random way, to select a proportional number of places that facilitates the analysis of the approximate state of the general total (Fernández et. al. 2009a).
During the analysis that was carried out to determine the way to proceed for this particular case, it were randomly selected 17 rock art stations of the 37 ones that the studied region possesses, to obtain a general approached vision of the impacts that are creating a bigger number of affectations in the same ones, and to carry out the pertinent recommendations to eliminate or to mitigate the damages occurred.
The systematic monitoring and evaluation of the situation of rock art stations at a national level carried out by the Cuban Group of Rock Art Researches (GCIAR) shows the presence of an important number of threats that ascends to 17% the industrial ones and to 83% the anthropic ones. Just 23% of the total of 274 stations reported in the country, is only protected with Monuments´ categories, and only15% is included inside the areas of National Parks and Natural Reservations. Until now, these historical–cultural values haven´t been taken into account for they to have the necessary exclusion or protection areas inside those protected regions.
THE EXPERIENCE IN GUANIGUANICO
MOUNTAIN RANGE. SELECTION OF THE
THE EXPERIENCE IN GUANIGUANICO
MOUNTAIN RANGE. SELECTION OF THE
To apply the elected methodology 17 caves and rock shelters with rock art manifestations were selected from 3 of the municipalities that have most representativeness, which were Minas de Matahambre, Viñales and Bahía Honda, and a cave of La Palma municipality.
It was decided then to carry out the journey during several days with a chronogram that admit to carry out the visits with a minimum time calculated in 2 or 3 hours by station, to evaluate satisfactorily the actions and the present impacts. During the inspections each site was graphic and photographically documented with the impacts detected to maintain a systematic control of the positive or negative evolution of the same ones.
The rock stations
Topographically the stations are located among 0 m. and 253 m. of altitude on the sea level, establishing the limits Solapa de la Vaquería and Cuevas del Garrafón, respectively.
In general, these manifestations of the culture material can be found in caves –as those of Cueva del Cura and El Garrafón– that present a few longitudinal development, among 20.0 m. of Cueva de las Manchas and more than 700 m. of Cueva de los Petroglifos; but it reaches their maximum exponent in 2 500 m. of Cueva de Mesa; or in big rock shelter that reach in occasions among 2 m. and 10 m. of depth like Solapa de la Vaquería y la Cueva de Las Manchas, respectively.
The selection of the realization substrate in the group of stations that we analyzed it is determined by three categories, those that can be defined as: walls and roofs of the cavities, secondary formations (lytogenesis) and clastic morphology (blocks of collapses).
According to the established categories the use of the walls and roofs as substrates represent 97%, in opposition to 1% and 2% of use of the secondary formations and the clastic morphology, respectively.
The use of the cave support from the point of view of the composition allows settling down that the pictographs are present in the three categories of selection of realization´s substrates, and that the petroglyphs were carried out in the walls and roofs of the stations.
Assignment of spaces
The assignment of spaces as a concept in the studies of the Cuban rock art registration have gotten a special interest in the last years, starting from the approach of some researchers that the study of this element can bring cultural and chronological elements (Fernández and González, 2001; Fernández 2005), accepting the precepts settled down by archaeology of landscape and the selection of the spaces where to execute the rock designs.
One of the analysed approaches was the area of execution of the manifestations in correspondence of the incidence of solar rays in the underground space. In the studied stations it behaved as follows: 11 places manifest their representations in areas where the sunbeams impact directly (thresholds areas), 2 stations show their exponents in areas where the solar rays infiltrates by reflection (sub thresholds areas) and 4 sites exhibit their art manifestations in areas where it never impacts the solar light (absolute darkness).
With the use of these approaches, it could be observed in details that it is established that the most used space was that of the sub thresholds areas, what represents 65% of selectivity; so the presence of rock drawing in the thresholds and sub thresholds areas is unequivocally related with pictographs. At the same time it is curious and also proven, the fact that all the petroglyphic stations of the mountain range had assigned the area of Absolute Darkness as space.
Evaluation and diagnosis of the conservation
As it was explained at the beginning of this presentation, for the evaluation and the diagnosis of the conservation´s grade of rock drawing of the mountain range object of study, the research began using the 28 types of actions proposed before in the mentioned study, but throughout the investigation it was proven that these categories were insufficient, that is why some necessary modifications were introduced and the same ones were enlarged until a number of 34, at the same time that we were studying new areas and that we faced the particularities of the human activity.
The evaluation of the state of conservation of the drawings allowed verifying that the lichens, mosses or microorganisms development is the impact that affect the sites the most, with a presence of 84%; what is in consonance with deforestation, the action that biggest representation shows, in 70%.
The places with more variety of present kind of impacts are Cueva de Camila affected with 12, the Cueva de la Tabla for 8, and Cueva de Nicolás for 5. Solapa de la Vaquería with 7, and Solapa de Las Manchas affected with 6 types of impacts are the ones that continue this lamentable list (González, et. al. 2007).
It could be proven that Los Estratos´, Camila´s and Nicolás´ Caves, and Las Manchas´ and La Vaquería´s Rock shelter, are the stations that present bigger risks because of the intensity of the impacts detected inside, the ones that were evaluated with the category of "Very High Affectation".
The bigger impact that provoked this result was the development of civil constructions in the range between 2 and 30 m. of the stations, what has generated violent impacts because of the dust and residual aerosols aggravated by the arid soil movement in lingering and intense periods, and the effect of explosions, actions linked to the partial or total deforestation of the areas, that indirectly affected those sites.
Cueva de Nicolás' station is located next to the highway that goes to Sumidero town, what transforms it into a public sanitary service, because it doesn't have any mark or signal that points out its patrimonial and cultural value.
There are also several rock art stations that have been protected for been included in the areas belonging to National Parks or Reserve of Biosphere that have Guard Parks or Guard Forests systems. The efforts that have allowed a better protection of those stations, have being proving the remarkable decrease of the affectations to pictographs and petroglyphs (Fernández et. al. 2012).
In this sense the cavity well-known as Cueva de Mesa in Gran Caverna de Santo Tomás, is the only one that has specialized guide service, for being located in the territory belonging to Viñales National Park, and in the properties of the former National School of Speleology, that had an obligatory access through a Control Post.
The tourist exploitation of Gran Caverna de Santo Tomás system began at the end of the nineteenth decade, for that reason new entrances to the cavity were created to facilitate the tourism journeys. Unfortunately, the evaluation that was carried out to determine the possible affectations that the station would receive it was incorrect, accentuated by the absence of a systematic monitoring and by the out of control in the access, linked to the direct contact of irresponsible excursionists and the increase of the continuous flow of air from the cavity, what has provoked the irreparable deterioration of the petroglyphs.
A community of investigators of the county tried to restore some of the engravings applying some splashes of carbonate sand, obtained from the area around of the petroglyphs, by the using of a dental brush like a rustic aerosol for that, and the using of a sharp instrument to emphasize them.
This inadequate procedure didn't have the registration and documentation of the original petroglyphs, neither of the elaboration of the file that documented the whole process with the description of the applied procedure. This action introduced to the painting mural an unimaginable number of microbiological and microclimatic dangers that cannot be valued nowadays; also the completely perceptible morphological modifications.
The institutions involved in the research, conservation and safeguards of the cultural and natural patrimony are the direct responsible of making that the laws that protect our heritage be worth at every level. They also should unite their efforts to achieve the execution of the effective dispositions and to correct or complete the corresponding documentation for their correct safeguard.
it can be confirmed that the state of conservation of the rock drawings present
in the stations of Guaniguanico Mountain Range, are classified in the category
of "High Affectation"; that is why it is imminent the necessity that
the structures of the municipal governments of this region, consider this
patrimony as one of the most fragile cultural resources and in consequence they
act to protect it.
The impacts that bigger number of affectations are creating in the visited stations, are the wrong antrophic manipulation of the ecosystem around them that provoke secondary effects such as the presence of microorganism, plants, ans zoological opportunist species that irreversibly damage ythis millennial heritage.
The country has the legal corpus that should guarantee the protection ans conservation of the Cultural Heritage, but regrettably it doesn´t mention the rock art as the specifities included, such as architectural elements, among otrhers. In this sense, and taking into account the proposals resulted in the International Consulation of Specialis´t in Study, Documentation and Conservation of the Rock Art, celebrated in Valmónica in 1981, we are agree with the approach that the necessity to establish a corpus of particular laws, for the heritage protection, conservation, administration, use and handling, is unavoidable.
The institutions involved in the research, conservation and safeguards of the cultural and natural heritage are the direct responsible of applying the laws that protect our heritage, and of achieving the execution of the dispositions for their correct preservation.
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