CAUCA ?- 1600 A.D.

Remains of monumental statuary and architecture, whose chronology is not certain. In later epochs, economy based on the cultivation of. maize, potatoes, and avocados.


Later goldwork is characterized by its emphasis on tumbaga, casting in the lost wax process, and the elaboration of pendants in bird shapes and simple nose rings.


In the upper Cauca River basin and the areas surrounding Popayan, rather isolated evidence has been found of prehispanic development. These
include remains of statuary, etchings in stone and even some manifestations of monumental statuary. The archaeological panorama for the later periods of this region is relatively clear. However, in contrast to San Agustin, Calima and Tumaco, it is very difficult to reconstruct the history of the earliest developments of the region, even in general terms, or to decipher patterns that could be used for comparison to neighboring areas.

In later eras, the predominating regional ceramic tradition concentrated on the serial production of vessels very similar to those from the Sonso
phase of Calima. The local economy was based on the cultivation of maize, potatoes, and avocados. It is known, furthermore, that the people of the region participated in marketing networks, trading goods with other regions. From the Pacific coast, they obtained seashells and probably salt. From the Andes of Antioquia. they procured tumbaga nose rings. According to available data, the metal pieces discovered so far correspond to later occupations. Cauca goldwork is principally known for two kinds of figures. The most characteristic are bird-shaped pendants, generally made of tumbaga cast in the lost wax process. The other series of pieces are nose rings shaped like twisted nails. Clearly in both cases, they are objects similar to those goldworkers created in northern Colombia between 500 and 1500 A. D.