8 pots with gold and jewels discovered near the city of El Dorado

A group of Colombian archaeologists found 8 vessels filled with gold and jewels. They were near the legendary city of El Dorado. In the 16th century, the Caribbean Indians worked metals with great skill. The conquerors were surprised by the refinement with which they did it.

city of El Dorado
Jewels and precious stones were buried as offerings to gods or ancestors.
Photo: Francisco Correa – National Geographic
The legend of the city of El Dorado

Objects of gold and precious stones were common among these indigenous peoples. Such abundance attracted so much attention that a legend began to take shape, that of El Dorado. This legend spoke of a city built entirely of gold hidden in the Caribbean jungle.

A story that the Indians helped to create through their rituals. An indigenous king threw objects of that metal into a sacred lagoon. He would smear his body with gold dust and then take a bath in the lagoon.

However, the mythical city of El Dorado was never found. Neither by the Spanish conquistadors nor by other explorers or treasure hunters through the centuries. Recently, however, a group of Colombian archaeologists discovered a very valuable treasure in the area of El Dorado.

The 8 pots are a very valuable treasure

These are eight ceramic vessels filled with jewels, gold and emeralds. They were found inside a temple and in the tombs near it. According to archaeologists, the treasure belonged to the Muisca people, indigenous people who inhabited central Colombia. More precisely in the current department of Santander, the geographical center of the country.

found near the city of El Dorado
The emeralds were carefully carved before being offered in the temple.
Photo: Francisco Correa – National Geographic

The Muisca dominated the area from the 6th century until the arrival of the Spanish in 1530. The pottery made by this people dates back some 600 years. They were also formidable goldsmiths. They were responsible for the creation of the legend of El Dorado.

The treasure was found in an ancient Muisca city near the country’s capital, Bogotá. According to them, the vessels were offerings for the dead buried there. The excavations were carried out during the process of building a new national road.

Inside the offerings they found jewels in different shapes. Some are in the shape of snakes or other animals and others look like headdresses and weapons. There were also numerous emeralds. It is not the first time that this type of ceramic vessels with jewels belonging to the Muisca people have been discovered.

The Muisca people were the indigenous people who dominated the area

The Muisca people disappeared because of fighting with the conquistadors and adjacent diseases. This happened during the conquest, between 1537 and 1540. However, despite the extermination they suffered, some Muisca survive today.

The Muisca people worshipped a number of important gods. Among these gods were the sun and the moon. As mentioned, they were excellent goldsmiths, which attracted the attention of the conquerors who were amazed by their art.

Another thing that surprised the Spaniards, however, was that there were no gold mines nearby. For this reason, they correctly deduced that the gold was a product of trade with other Amerindian peoples.

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