The San Agustin Archaeological Park

The famous statues carved out in volcanic rock at San Agustin Archaeological Park

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The San Agustín archaeological sites were abandoned around 1350 AD and rediscovered during the 18th and 19th centuries, which led the looting and disturbance of most of the  monumental tombs while looking for treaures which proved to be very scant. In 1931 for San Agustín archaeological park was created and declared a National Monument and National Archaeological Park in 1993. The main values of the San Agustin monuments, expressed in the megalithic stone elements, funerary layout and stone carvings and painting, have been preserved, as well as the original construction techniques and associated archaeological deposits (Source: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/744). Three separate properties, totaling 116 ha, is located in the Colombian southwestern Andes and comprise the Archaeological Park:

  1. San Agustín (conformed by the Mesita A, Mesita B, Mesita C, La Estación, Alto de Lavapatas and Fuente de Lavapatas sites)
  2. Alto de los Ídolos
  3. Alto de Las Piedras.

We went for the park in San Agustín, where the archaeological zone featuring the largest complex of pre-Columbian megalithic funerary monuments and statuary, burial mounds, terraces, funerary structures, stone statuary and the Fuente de Lavapatas site, a religious monument carved in the stone bed of a stream. After paying the entry fee the pass is valid for two days, so you can visit one of the other two sites. The park is totally worth  visit if you end up the area and we really enjoyed the hours we spend there.

The Fuente de Lavapatas site were the rich people would shower in the upper pools which were beautiful decorated

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The poor people would shower in the lower pools which didn’t have any decorations

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The ceremonial sites were constructed during the Regional Classic period (1-900 AD). The tombs contain an elaborate funerary architecture of stone corridors, columns, sarcophagi and large impressive statues depicting gods or supernatural beings, an expression of the link between deceased ancestors and the supernatural power that marks the institutionalization of power in the region.

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This was a sacred land, a place of pilgrimage and ancestors worship. These hieratic guards, some more than 4 m high weighing several tons, are carved in blocks of tuff and volcanic rock. They protected the funeral rooms, the monolithic sarcophagi and the burial sites.

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Actually almost all the pictures in this post is not ours, we don’t know what happened, but we lost all the pictures we took in the Archaeological Park, and the pictures we took the day before. We have not been able to recover the pictures. We are just happy that it is only pictures from two days we have lost. Esben empties the cameras every 2-4 days depending on how many pictures we have taken. All the pictures are relocated in folders with date and location name. Usually this works really good, and we just don’t know what happened. We also have a backup with a our pictures from Mexico and Central America. We really try not to loose pictures, but it can happen anyway.We meet Edward and his sister (She is studying in Aalborg, Denmark) travelling with their mother (in the right picture). Thank you for sending us some pictures of the day in the San Agustín archaeological park.

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They were really nice people so the day after we went river rafting on Rio Magdalena… check out the next post!

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