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The International Writers Magazine: Natural World

The Megalithic Civilization of San Agustin
Andres Botero
Anyone that visits the San Agustin Archeological Park in Colombia (South America) can experience an encounter with a strange energy suspended in the air for centuries.

San Agustin

San Agustin Park had attracted unimaginable number of world archeologists to explore or try to solve the mysterious culture that produced a substantial number of monuments and then they vanished from the land for unexplained reasons.

The culture of San Agustin inhabited the valley of the Magdalena River from 3300 BC to the XVI century. It is one of the most unknown civilizations due to the lack of a written language, but its legacy can be study through their megalithic art, which encompasses over 500 sculptures distributed along numerous hills and valleys.

There are several contradictions among archeologists about the possible origin of this civilization. They originated from people that migrated from the Amazon region an established in a rich area adequate for agriculture. Other theories assumed that Agustinians originated on that specific geographical location among the Magdalena River, and potentially they migrated to southern center given origin to numerous communities along their migrations.

san agustin The Agustinians were highly organized due to the distribution of specializations among their population, several activities were gave to members according with their capacities, some of those activities were sculpture, architecture, agriculture, hunting, warriors and spiritual shamans with a broad knowledge of nature, as well as the use of esoteric powers.

As a megalithic society, they developed a delicate connection with the cosmos through their tri-dimensional sculptures, which represent intriguing aspects of daily life and death. Many of those sculptures were interpretations of natural forces, the relationship between gods and humans, and the importance of exclusividity among society ranks.

San Agustin sculptures are esoteric and symbolic; those works can be categorized as polymorphic in nature representing the relationship between the shaman (spiritual leader) and the jaguar (the jaguar was considered a deity in this culture). There are also antropozoomorphic monuments depicting warriors with jaguar mouths, two bodies and two snakeheads.

Several interpretations have been given to those pre-Hispanic works including the hypothesis that they were powerful fertility symbols, funeral complexes or even as important sacrifice centers.

Although this culture reached an outstanding level of intellectual development, they disappeared many centuries before the discovery of America, remaining to date an archeological mystery among researchers, which continue formulating conjectures about an intriguing question, what could happen to this advanced megalithic civilization?

As an unsolved puzzle many perspectives have been approached to solve the possible causes of disappearance, for instance, as a prehistoric population they may practiced a nomadic life style, which support the idea that this ancient civilization may became the ancestors of even more advanced groups such as the Incas.

Eventually, Agustinians returned to the Amazon region where they found a more suitable place for living or developing a deeper connection with nature and the wild elements of the Jungle. Modern hypothesis are oriented toward the idea that this culture were forced to move to other lands by less advanced indigenous populations, which emphasized their culture in military power rather art or spirituality.

However, the overexploitation of natural resources followed by extend drought periods may also be potential causes that motivate the migration to locations in which they found fertile soils or better climates.

After all, the Agustinians megalithic legacy can be the key needed to open a hidden book of answers to the real reasons behind the disappearance of this outstanding civilization, for now it remains as an archeological enigma.

© Andres Botero June 2010
 andybamby007 at                                                   


  1. Jose Rodrigo Betancur Montoya. ‘ Marcadores Solares en la Cultura de San Agustin’ in Boletin de Antropologia Universidad de Antioquia (2006) v 20 n 37 pp 184-205.
  2. “Ancestors of the Incas,” Science News Letter, Archeology, February 19, 1944.
  3. Jorge Enrique Rodriguez Martinez. ‘Anotaciones a la Cultura Agustiniana.” Hojas Universitarias (2000) n 49 pp 82-86.
  4. Gustavo Politis and Benjamin Alberti: Archeology in Latin America, “ The Archeological Culture of San Agustin” Chapter Ten by Cesar Velandia
    ( Routledge publishing, UK, 1999).
  1. (accessed on 01/13/2010)

Andres holds a Master degree in Microbiology and Immunology, but in his free time writes in English and Spanish. He has been published in the Graffiti Literary Magazine, and Hackwriters (electronic magazine). He is also preparing his first book on poetry (Fuerzas Invisibles/ Invisible Forces)

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