This rare pre-Hispanic skeleton of a 2,500-year-old teenage girl has been discovered by archaeologists as workmen prepared to build a road on top of the site.
The ancient remains were found by archaeologists called in to do a check on the site after the buildings were demolished to make way for a new road.
With the level of construction previously carried out on the land plus the fact the ground had been left exposed over the winter, they were reportedly expecting to find little of worth when they carried out a second dig.
But instead they discovered the burial site where the body had been placed on a bed of stones in a chamber located at the bottom of a specially built well – with the extra few metres of depth ensuring that it escaped as foundations were placed for the buildings.
The experts have ordered a stop on the road-building work as they analyse the find and have already identified her as belonging to the ancient Calima culture that occupied the Valle del Cauca, or Cauca Valley region of Colombia.
Four separate and powerful civilisations existed in the region with at times a centralised government supporting local industries including waving, metalwork, potteries and the usual fishing and farming. They believe she was from either the Yotoco or Malagana societies rather than the Ilama and Sonso civilisations that all lived in the region.
The site is on the planned route for a new road linking Cali and Yumbo in the western Colombian department of Valle del Cauca according to the region’s Institute for the Investigation and Preservation of the Cultural and Natural Heritage (Inciva).
Inciva director Alvaro Rodriguez said that the team have already found two ceramic pots although they had also not yet been properly examined, and they are hoping this will help them identify which of the societies she belonged to when she was alive as long as 200 BC ago.
The skeleton is said to be in a good condition despite the passing of two millennia and the recent construction works in the area.
Although there have not yet been any finds of some of the impressive gold jewellery the four civilisations were known to create, archaeologists are nevertheless excited about it because it is rare and especially of late where there have been very few discoveries of worth.