National Archaeological Park
Guidebook - English
The greatest complex of megalithic monuments of pre-Columbian America is made up of a group of archeological sites dispersed on a broad region in the upper valley of the Magdalena River, in the Colombian Southwest, known as the Archeological Zone of San Agustín.
Recognized by Unesco in 1995 as World Heritage, San Agustín symbolizes the ability of pre-Columbian societies of northern South America to create and express, especially through monolithic sculptures, earth mounds and funerary corridors, their singular social organization and worldview.
The first written descriptions of the monuments were made at the end of the 17th century by the chronicler Fray Juan de Santa Gertrudis (1970).
From 1913 on (Preuss, 1931), the region has been intensively studied by archeologists interested in a better understanding of the monumentality of these graves and the importance of these kinds of commemorative elements for the development of politically complex societies or chiefdoms (cacicazgos).
Research on San Agustín, one of the first complex societies in Northern South America, is of great importance to understand the development of political organizations, a central issue for anthropological theory.
In 1931, Law 103 ordered the creation of the Archeological Park and an office, Servicio Arqueológico Nacional, within the Ministerio de Educación, in charge of research and preservation at the Park.
Since then, and thanks to the interest of the national and international public and the continuous State investment in studying, protecting and promoting the cultural heritage located there, the zone of San Agustín is one of the best known archeological zones of Northern South America and, probably, the most representative of the archeological sites of the Colombian cultural heritage.