The Mysterious Archaeological Sites of Southern Colombia

San Agustín Archaeological Park

This park is made up of 3 sites in the municipalities of San Agustín and Isnos – San Agustín, Alto de los Ídolos and Alto de las Piedras. According to its UNESCO World Heritage listing,

The largest group of religious monuments and megalithic sculptures in South America stands in a wild, spectacular landscape. Gods and mythical animals are skillfully represented in styles ranging from abstract to realist. These works of art display the creativity and imagination of a northern Andean culture that flourished from the 1st to the 8th century.

Officially, the artefacts date from this time but there are many, varied opinions about who the people were who made these monuments and sculptures, and when they actually lived. There are claims that the beginnings of this culture goes back to around 3000BC, or perhaps to just 3000 years ago; others draw a connection with the Olmec culture of Mexico; still others claim the statues result from an extra-terrestrial visitation.

Despite the mystery surrounding the people, their culture and their art, this is an incredibly interesting region to explore. You can choose to get just a taste, or spend days scouring the countryside – on foot, horseback, or 4×4 – to discover many smaller sites, which are not included in the San Agustín Archaeological Park.

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