| Parque ArqueolÓgico De Tierradentro|
Long ago when the Spanish Conquerors tried to reach this area, they saw how difficult it was to walk through the hills and climb them in order to access it so they called it Tierradentro (Land Within). This is a very important archeological site, “the land deep inside” as Alvaro Chávez called it, because of its difficult access and its broken topography giving the sensation of being locked in by mountains.
This is an archeological site situated in the East of the Department of Cauca in the district of Inzá and Páez 113Km from Popayán. It features badly broken terrain through which several small rivers flow pouring their waters into the main watercourse of Páez River. Tierradentro is located between the Puracé volcano and the snowy peaks of el Nevado del Huila.
The climate of this area ranges from the warm weather of the foothills to the cold temperatures of the moors.
5800 feet above sea level.
Visitors may arrive at Tierradentro by roads from Neiva, Cali or Popayán. The most interesting sites to visit are located near the districts of Inzá, San Francisco and San Andrés.
Places to visit.
Small cemeteries have been found near the Indian towns of Calderas, Lame, Tubichucue, Suin, Chinas and Tálaga, among others. In the valleys near the town of San Adrés de Pisimbalá the largest necropolises of Tierradentro can be found, constituted by Loma de Segovia, Alto del Duende, Alto de San Andrés and Loma del Aguacate.
There are two museums, one explaining prehistoric human habitation in this region; the other exhibiting cultural aspects of today’s inhabitants. This includes pottery, statues and other cultural and valuable artifacts of this culture.
Speaking about pottery, archeologists have found interesting things during their excavations. They discovered the existence of domestic and ceremonial pottery items. The domestic implements are of a regular shape, monochromatic and fairly simple. Many of them are tripod vessels that used to be placed over the fire; some others are decorated with showy geometrical, human and animal figures and painted with vegetable-based colors. The vessels found inside the rock carved vaults are more elaborate and feature significantly more decoration.
There is still more to be discovered about the social, historical, religious and political development of this culture. Scientists and archeologists using radiocarbon dating have determined that this culture appeared?? between 630 and 850 AD.
These depositories were built to contain the human bones of the dead. These structures are unique in their kind in Latin America because of the surprising fineness of their painted decorations. They can be found grouped in different sites along the hillside and around the drainage areas of the San Andrés River.
By comparing architectonic styles of neighboring cultures, it has been possible to determine the time of the classic period of Tierradentro culture to be around the 5th Century when the building of hypogeums reached its greatest perfection.
Archeological and Ethnographic Museum: This museum contains ceramics and stone figures and other instruments found during excavations carried out at different sites of the area. Here we can see clothing, home utensils and musical instruments, all of which were used by the natives in their ritual and daily life.
Alto de Segovia: Located at 1650 m. above sea level and 15 minutes from the main road. The only way to access this site is on horseback or on foot. This is an extremely important site in the area because there are thirty tombs or hypogeums of different sizes, which are decorated with red, white and black geometrical human and zoomorphic figures.
Alto del Duende: Located at 1700 m. above sea level, this place has seven well-conserved tombs where the best pictorial art can be seen.
Alto del Tablón: This place is 1600m above sea level. The area contains eight statues similar to those of San Agustín that testify the relation existing between these two cultures at some time in the past.
Alto de San Andrés: Eight hypogeums can be found here and they are located in front of San Andrés town.
El Aguacatal: Located on the summit of the mountain and with a wonderful view of the surrounding landscape. This site boasts six hypogeums featuring beautifully decorated chambers.
An indigenous Catholic Church, symbol of the region, is found here. San Agustín and this zone together constitute a cultural heritage for humanity because they are unique in their class. They are the testimony of an ancient past that should be admired and conserved as a treasure.
Hotel Refugio de Pilimbalá
Telephone: (57) 2-8222251 (Popayán).
It is possible to lodge in family-type houses.
|Parque ArqueolÓgico De San AugustÍn|
San Agustin Park is located in the Southwest of the Republic of Colombia, in the Department of Huila. The district of Isnos in the North, the Department of Cauca to the West and South and the district of Pitalito in the East all border this Park.
Located 1700m above sea level, this Park has an average annual temperature of 19°C.
San Agustín has an area of 1310 Km² including the districts of Isnos, Salado Blanco and San Agustín.
Natural Park of San Agustín
This park is located in the foothills of the Colombian Massif of the Southern part of the Department of Huila and has a climatic diversity ranging from the warm temperatures of the low valleys to the cold of the moors.
The area of this park was inhabited thousand of years ago by the advanced Agustinian culture whose origin and cause of its extinction remain unknown. Archeological and scientific studies using carbon 14 dating show that the cultural communities just mentioned existed between 3300 B.C. until the tenth century A.D.
Many of its archeological relics have been recovered, including sculptures, sarcophaguses, and monoliths, and there are many tombs. A great variety of pottery items have been found including pots, jars, plates, trays, goldsmith works and grindstones carved into the appropriate shape. Smaller stones were used to grind different kinds of grains, roots, tree barks and spices.
Places to Visit
In this park there are four sites of interest: La Fuente de Lavapatas (Lavapatas Ceremonial Water Spring), El Alto de lavapatas (Lavapatas Hill), El Alto de los Idolos (Idol’s Hill), El Bosque de las Estatuas (Statues Forest) and the Archeological Museum.
All signs indicate that, at a certain point in the Indians’ history, the ancient Agustinian Communities developed a strong burial culture. It is at this time that many artificial mounds were constructed, and this is also the age in which their cultural art flourished, converting the whole area into a ceremonial center with great regional influence.
There are several ancient domestic sites called Mesitas from which land had been removed to make mounds for different purposes. At these sites, numerous stone-carved monuments resembling human and zoomorphic figures and temples can be found. In the Fuente Lavapatas there are several figures carved in-situ resembling lizards, serpents and salamanders with human figures. Everything indicates that this was a sacred place used for religious rituals. It is said the people who visit La Fuente Lavapatas feel a wonderful sensation of peace and joyfulness.
At the summit of Alto de Lavapatas the most ancient archeological monuments indicate they were built as long as 26 centuries ago. Here there are very unusual sites such as a children’s cemetery protected by a beautifully carved large double statue.
El Alto de los Ídolos is perhaps one of the most interesting places where funeral customs that best represent the culture were found. Here we can see simple tombs carved vertically into the land, which have lateral chambers and there are other tombs horizontally built whose walls are covered with decorated stone slabs.