Ancient village changes history of Colombia

Newly discovered ancient village changes history of Colombia

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A surprising archaeological discovery in Central Colombia is challenging existing theories on ancient lives and settlements in what is now Bogota.

A buried pre-Colombian town was detected as an energy company was undertaking preliminary construction research. Archaeologists have said the uncovered village has revealed a trove of artifacts and remains – amounting to 20 metric tons, cites Colombia Reports – a large number of pieces in good enough condition to be displayed in museums.

The indigenous site is apparently the biggest ever discovered in Colombia. Spanning 4.9 hectares (12 acres), the village dates back to 900 BC, and shows the locals thrived for hundreds of years, until 1500 AD and Spanish colonization.

Archaeologist John Alexander Gonzalez said of the discovery, “The relevance of this finding lies in the information contained in the settlement patterns, the architectural and agricultural development of the societies that lived on the central high plans of Colombia and, in general, about demographic aspects in pre-Hispanic times,” according to Colombia Report.

The archaeological dig is ongoing southwest of Bogota

The archaeological dig is ongoing southwest of Bogota, Colombia. Credit: EPM

Until this discovery, researchers believed the indigenous people lead a nomadic lifestyle, but now it’s being established that during the Herrera period permanent settlements were maintained for hundreds of years.

The pre-Colombian village was last inhabited by the Muisca people, a group which had a large population (previous to the Spanish conquest), and a Confederation of territory of approximately 47,000 square kilometres (18,000 sq miles), states Wikipedia. Their economy was based around metalworking, agriculture and manufacturing, and the legend of El Dorado , the city of gold, may have originated from their culture.

The golden Muisca raft

The golden Muisca raft, representing a ritual offering of gold. Credit: A.Bertram, Creative Commons

Featured image: Excavation at ancient, pre-Colombian village site, Bogota. Credit: EPM

By Liz Leafloor


Would this have been one of the societies/cultures that was wiped out because of a possible volcano? I hope there's some progress on theories as to how pre-Columbian cultures simply stopped existing. Or are there more theories already? I know there's the el Nino event that may have occurred around that time but are there others?

DeAegean's picture

I'd like to hear more about El Dorado, such a dascinating mystery

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