The Muisca are the Chibcha-speaking people that formed the Muisca Confederation of the central Andean highlands of present-day Colombias Eastern Range, in particular the Altiplano Cundiboyacense. As one out of four advanced civilizations of the Americas, they were encountered by the Spanish Empire in 1537 and it bordered the territories of the Panche and Pijao tribes. At the time of the conquest, the area had a large population, estimates vary from half a million to up to three million inhabitants. The Muisca spoke muysccubun, a dialect of Chibcha, called Muysca and Mosca, the economy was based on agriculture, salt mining and manufacturing. Today the Muisca population has almost died out, although in the municipalities and districts Cota, Chía, Suba, Engativá, Tocancipá, Gachancipá, a census by the Ministry of Interior Affairs in 2005 provided a total of 14,051 Muisca persons in Colombia. Excavations in the Altiplano Cundiboyacense show evidence of activity since the Archaic stage at the beginning of the Holocene era.
Colombia has one of the most ancient archaeological sites of the Americas, El Abra, human skeletons were found that date to 5000 BCE. Analysis demonstrated that the people were members of the El Abra Culture, scholars agree that the group identified as Muisca migrated to the Altiplano Cundiboyacense in the Formative stage, as shown by evidence found at Aguazuque and Soacha. Like the other cultures of America, the Muiscas were in a transition between being hunter-gatherers and becoming sedentary farmers. Around 1500 BCE, groups of agrarians with ceramic traditions came to the region from the lowlands and they had permanent housing and stationary camps, and worked the salty water to extract salt. In Zipacón there is evidence of agriculture and ceramics, the most ancient settlement of the highlands dates to 1270 BCE. Between 500 BCE and 800 BCE, a wave of migrants came to the highlands. Their presence is identified by multicolor ceramics and farms and these groups were still in residence upon the arrival of the Spanish conquerors.
They left abundant traces of their occupation that have been studied since the 16th century and it is possible that the Muisca integrated with more ancient inhabitants, but the Muisca were the ones who molded the cultural profile and the social and political organization. Their language, a dialect of Chibcha, was similar to those peoples of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. Zipa Saguamanchica was in a constant war against aggressive tribes such as the Sutagao, and especially the Panche, the Caribs were a permanent threat as rivals of the zaque of Hunza, especially for the possession of the salt mines of Zipaquirá, Nemocón and Tausa. The Muisca people were organized in a confederation that was a union of states that each retained sovereignty. The confederation was not a kingdom, as there was no monarch, nor was it an empire
Ciudad Perdida is the archaeological site of an ancient city in Colombias Sierra Nevada. It is believed to have been founded about 800 CE, some 650 years earlier than Machu Picchu and this location is known as Teyuna and Buritaca. Members of local tribes—the Arhuaco, the Koguis and the Wiwas—have stated that they visited the site regularly before it was widely discovered and they call the city Teyuna and believe it was the heart of a network of villages inhabited by their forebears, the Tairona. Ciudad Perdida was probably the regions political and manufacturing center on the Buritaca River and it was apparently abandoned during the Spanish conquest. Ciudad Perdida consists of a series of 169 terraces carved into the mountainside, the entrance can only be accessed by a climb up some 1,200 stone steps through dense jungle. On September 15,2003, ELN kidnapped eight foreign tourists visiting Ciudad Perdida, ELN released the last of the hostages three months later. The United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, the paramilitary right-wing groups in that country, for some time the zone has been free of incidents.
In 2005, tourist hikes became operational again and there have no problems since then. The Colombian army actively patrols the area, which is now deemed to be safe for visitors. For a six day return hike to the lost city, the cost is approximately US$300, the hike is about 44 km of walking in total, and requires a good level of fitness. The hike includes a number of crossings and steep climbs. It is a difficult hike. Toby Muse - Lost City Soto-Holguin Alvaro The Lost City of the Tayronas Im editors, Bogota,1976
This cave system is one of the first evidences of human settlement in the Americas, dated at 12,400 ±160 years BP, used by the hunter-gatherers of the late Pleistocene epoch. The rock shelter, containing petroglyphs, is situated at the edge of the Bogotá savanna. In 1960, the Indiana University collaborated in a deeper research, the Fúquene stadial, named after Lake Fúquene, close to the village of the same name, is defined from 15,000 to 12,500 BP. It is characterized by a climate, flora typical of páramo ecosystems. About 12,500 years ago, a rise of temperature allowed the return of Andean cloud forest. Articles of this period are abrienses, flint s, and chopper cores, while the climate was more benign, the cave system was gradually abandoned. Dated 11,000 BP, it is characterized by a new cooling of the climate, recession of the forests, around 10,000 years BP the last glaciation ended, the Andean forest appeared again. The lithic instruments show a rise in recollecting activities, with rodents and vegetables consumed, the El Abra caves were abandoned gradually.
In Aguazuque, around 5,000 BP, agriculture was established on elevated terraces, list of Muisca and pre-Muisca sites Andean preceramic Aguazuque, Tequendama, Tibitó Gómez Mejía, Juliana. Aceituno Bocanegra, Francisco Javier, and Sneider Rojas Mora, Evidence of hunter-gatherers and growers on the high plains of the Eastern Ranges, 1-316. Banco de la República, Fundación de Investigaciones Arqueológicas Nacionales, evidencias culturales durante el Pleistocene y Holoceno de Colombia - Cultural evidences during the Pleistocene and Holocene of Colombia. Estado actual de las investigaciones sobre la etapa lítica en Colombia, Correal Urrego, Thomas van der Hammen, and J. C. Lerman. Artefactos líticos de abrigos en El Abra, Checua, Una secuencia cultural entre 8500 y 3000 años antes del presente - Checua, a cultural sequence between 8500 and 3000 years before present, 1-95. Hurt, Thomas van der Hammen, and Gonzalo Correal Urrego, la ecología y tecnología de los abrigos rocosos en El Abra, Sabana de Bogotá, Colombia.
Boletín de la Sociedad Geográfica Colombiana 109, Thomas van der, and E González. Historia de clima y vegetación del Pleistoceno superior y Holoceno de la Sabana de Bogotá, Thomas van der, and Gonzalo Correal Urrego. Prehistoric man on the Sabana de Bogota, data for an ecological prehistory, stratigraphic Dating and Cultural Sequences of Pre-Hispanic Northern South America, 381-393. El hombre prehistórico en la Sabana de Bogotá, datos para una prehistoria ecológica
A rock shelter is a shallow cave-like opening at the base of a bluff or cliff. In arid areas, wind erosion can be an important factor in rockhouse formation, erosion from moving water is seldom a significant factor. Many rock shelters are found under waterfalls, Rock shelter formation types Rock shelters are often important archaeologically. Because rock shelters form natural shelters from the weather, prehistoric humans often used them as living-places, and left behind debris, tools, in mountainous areas the shelters can be important for mountaineers. In western Connecticut and eastern New York, many shelters are known by the colloquialism leatherman caves. Sandstone can be used as shingles for roof tops when possible, the Cumberland stitchwort is an endangered species of plant which is found only in rock shelters in Kentucky and Tennessee. Gatecliff Rockshelter Kinlock Shelter Mesa Verde Overhang Roc-aux-Sorciers Shelter Rock Walnut Canyon