Recent archeological discoveries show that the first ceramic piece in South and Central America was made in the Ecuadorian jungle 8,000 years ago. Traces of ‘primitive’ cultures have been found on the coast, indicating that people lived there from 4,000 B.C. The people not only made useful pieces of ceramics but also beautiful figurines. The first Indian culture that worked on ceramics was called Valdivia. Their cultures that followed were: Machalila, Chorrera, Bahia, Guangala, Jama-Coaque, Tolita, Milagro-Quevedo, Montena and Huanca-vilca.
These cultures used agricultural practices, which were far more advanced and precise than the standard technology even of today such as irrigation and terraces to conserve farmlands. They worked with ceramics and metals such as platinum, silver, gold and copper. These cultures were well organized for defense and trade, making up true federations for centuries.
“Ecuador is so unbelievably diverse culturally!” There are just so many ancient cultures”, says Juan Leon. Today, traces of these cultures are found everywhere- – in the food, in the handicrafts, in the different festivities, in the agricultural technology, and in the system of communication and organization. In the food, for example, there is still strong Indian influence even though after the Spanish conquest in 1550’s, the native population was reduced to one-fifth of its original number.
“Ecuador is so unbelievably diverse culturally!”