Archaeological Park of San agustín
Archaeological Park of San agustín (Spanish Parque Arqueológico de San Agustín ) is one of the most important archaeological sites in Colombia (South America), located 2.5 km from the town of Popayan, on the banks of the Magdalena river. Park San Agustín. Included in the world Heritage list of UNESCO.
San agustín is located in 227 km from the capital of the Department Neiva. The population is about 30 000 people the city was Originally founded as a village in 1752 by Alejo the Spaniard Astudillo, but the Indians soon destroyed it. The modern village was founded in 1790 by Lucas de Erazo-and-Mandhana.
In the area found traces of one of the most interesting civilizations of the Western hemisphere. Not far from San Agustin, at an altitude of 1800 meters at the source of the Magdalena river, in the cave found a large number of stone figures, vaguely reminiscent of the statue of the era of the Aztec Empire. Today in the Valley of the statues found more than 500 giant statues of people, gods and animals. They are scattered in more than 20 places in the forest, completely overgrown with orchids, the valley of the river Magdalena. Carved stone figures look at the background of this landscape is bleak and aloof. Sculptures of gods and mythological characters made in different styles and date back to different centuries. The height of some reaches 6 meters. Since espansione fray Juan de Santa Gertrudis in 1794 first reported about these giants, historians and archaeologists wonder about their origin and age. Some believe that they originated in the VI century BC, others are inclined to a later Dating, relating these works to the culture, destroyed by the Incas shortly before the Spanish conquest, they have a certain resemblance with the famous stone idols of Easter island.
In the Archaeological Park of San Agustin features dozens of sculptures. And in the Forest of Statues placed another 35 figures, between them there is a comfortable walking trail. The main ritual space in a Park – Source ablutions. Apparently, near this source was ritual and ceremony in honor of the goddess of Water. Rocky river valley all slotted channels and reservoirs. Everywhere there are quaint stone figures of humans, snakes, lizards. Also in the Park there is a Museum found in these places of pottery and other archaeological finds. A distinctive feature of San Agustin are considered to be burial. San agustín is the only one in South America pre-Columbian culture, after which there were a sizeable number of burial grounds. Scientists believe that the cult of the dead played San austinsko society a special role. It seems that this people had a specific view of the world in General and the world of the dead in particular. Sanagustin not contrast so emphatically as in “white” civilization, the earth and the afterlife. The minds of the Indians was constantly occupied by the questions about the nature and meaning of death, about what happens in the invisible Dali, behind the border of a tangible reality. The evidence of that is the popularity of the theme of death in the mythology of the ancient Colombians.
Archaeologists distinguish three types of San augustinski tombs: sarcophagi of wood, burial hills and megalithic tombs underground. High mounds covered with tombs, built of massive, slightly flattened stone slabs, which were cut from solid stone sarcophagi. The rest of the deceased protect the stone statues at the entrance. Walls many of the vaults are covered with polychrome geometric ornament. Mythical stories of wall paintings resemble the picturesque decorations of temple buildings pre-Inca Mochica culture.
A lot of interesting graves discovered in the archaeological area of Tierradentro (Spanish for “the inner earth”), which most researchers include in San Agustin. Unparalleled tierradentro cemeteries were created between the middle of the first Millennium BC and mid first Millennium ad To have survived the tombs on the peaks of the mountain site UNED de Pasto. There are rock-cut step moves. Large chamber, round or oval, with arched ceilings, divided with pilasters on the walls for a few niches, which set the urn with cremated remains and neatly accompanying the inventory. Walls, pilasters and ceilings with ornaments. From Tierradentro are also stone sculptures and dark coarse vessels with moulded images of snakes, stamps and meats. Sanagustin lived a sedentary life, engaged in farming. Like all agricultural peoples of America, they deified the forces of nature. Special importance was attached to the sun and the moon, linked to the soil fertility and crop productivity, with the agricultural calendar. In addition to stone monuments and burials in San Agustin found the remains of a round pole-mounted dwellings, terraces, ceramic ware, water pipes, carved into the cliffs. In the tombs were found gold objects, now stored at the famous gold Museum in the Colombian capital city Bogota. The main wealth of the Indians were concentrated in the “Holy mountain”, discovered in the early XIX century by the famous archeologist and hero of independence from Spain Francisco josé de Caldas.