Ear ornament Gold, platinum, and stone 500 b.C. - 300 A.D. Inguapí River, Tumaco, Nariño 2,7 x 2,8 cm

Tumaco: People and Gold on the Pacific Coast

Communities of fishermen, farmers, seafood gatherers and hunters who sailed the sea and worked metals lived for a thousand years, from 700 B.C. to 350 A.D., on the floodable plains and in the mangrove swamps of the Pacific coast, between Esmeraldas in Ecuador and Buenaventura, in Valle del Cauca province. From the sands of the rivers they obtained gold and platinum, which they transformed into delicate, small ornaments such as necklaces, diadems and nose rings ...or into hooks. They built their homes on artificial platforms, to protect them from flooding.

Human figures made of clay have been found beheaded on rubbish dumps, at burial sites and near the sea, as if they had been broken as part of a ritual. They have ornaments inserted in the skin, ear and nose rings, and skull deformations, a symbol of social rank. Scenes of motherhood, eroticism, illness and old age are depicted. The chieftains, portrayed in the form of large, decorated pottery figures, controlled economic and social life.

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Tumaco and the Gold Museum Exhibition

Living in the Mangrove Swamp

The Expression of Power in Tumaco - La Tolita

The Life Cycle