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The History of San Agustín

The people who carved these monoliths that populate the rolling lands of San Agustín remain a mystery. Today we call their civilization "Agustinian," but its real name is lost in the mists that swirl around these mountains. They are assumed to be the ancestors of the present-day Nasa (Páez) nation of the region. According to radiocarbon dating, the Upper Magdalena area had been inhabited since at least 4,000 years before Christ. The "Agustinian" culture is usually divided into two periods: the Formative (1000 BC-1 AD) and the Regional Classical (1-900 AD). It is from this latter era when most of the funerary sites were elaborated. Archaeologists believe the peoples of the pre-Columbian San Agustín and Tierradentro areas were of the same culture; remnants of roads lie beneath the jungle growth.






The Spanish settlement San Agustín was founded by Lucas de Herazo Mendigaña in 1790. It was always a somnolent town, until the latter part of the 20th century, when the civil war took root in the surrounding areas. Travelers' tales of encounters with the guerrilleros abounded. However, those days appear to be over with increased Colombian military presence, and once more San Agustín slips back into its quiescence.

By Lorraine Caputo

Upon re-declaring her independence at age 29, Lorraine Caputo packed her trusty Rocinante (so her knapsack's called) and began...

22 Aug 2011

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