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One of Managua's most interesting and least visited attractions is the Acahualinca Museum located in a residential neighborhood near the city's lake, Lake Managua. The museum is home to one of Nicaragua's oldest archaeological sites, thought to date back at least six-thousand years. The site contains the preserved footprints, now petrified into stone, of some of Managua's earliest residents, perhaps even some the earliest inhabitants of the Americas.
Archaeologists believe that the prints were made as people went about their daily lives near the shores of the Lake, their tracks being pressed into the soft mud as they gathered plants and hunted. It is thought that the prints likely dried in the sun, becoming hard, before being covered with a layer of volcanic ash from a nearby eruption. Over time the prints turned to stone. In addition to the foot prints of humans, the site also contains prints from birds and other small animals that lived in the area at the time.
The site was discovered in the 1870's, but was not fully excavated until the 1940's. During the 1980's scientists performed a long series of tests on the site to determine the approximate height and weight of the people who made the prints, as well as the prints' age.
The museum contains detailed information about these scientific tests and has a full-scale reproduction of the prints which visitors can touch and stand on. The museum is closed on Sundays. Call for directions: 266-5774.