MundoAndino Home : Colombia Guide at Mundo Andino

El Abra

El Abra is an archaeological excavation site, located in the valley of the same name, east of the city of Zipaquira, department Cundinamarca, Colombia; in the Altiplano Cundiboyacense, at an altitude of 2,570 m. This cave system is one of the first Human settlements in America, used by the Homo sapiens inhabitants of the late pleistocene epoch.


The first research in the place was developed in 1967, and the stratigraphy of lithic instruments, bones and vegetal charcoal with radiocarbon dating established the date of the settlement in 12,400 BCE 160 years.

Archaeological Research

In 1960, the Indiana University collaborated in a more deep research. In 1970 the Netherlands Foundation for the Advancement of Tropical Research (NWO-WOTRO) discovered four new Pre-pottery sites and the analysis of lake sediments allowed a more accurate understanding of the original weather and flora.

Fuquene stadial

From 15,000 BCE to 12,500 BCE. It is characterized by a cold weather, flora typical of Paramo ecosystem, and stone tools.

Guantiva interstadial

About 12,500 years ago, a gradual rise of temperature allowed the growing of Andean cloud forest and the settlement of many animal species, making hunting easier. Articles of this period are abrienses: flint (tool)s, and chopper cores. While the weather was more benign, the cave system was gradually abandoned.

Tibito stadial

The excavations of this period, near Tocancipa town, dated 11,400 years BCE, shows lithic instruments, Bone instruments and remains of Pleistocenic fauna, such as mastodons (Haplomastodon and Cuvieronius hyodon), American horse (Equus amerhipuus lasallei), and deer (Odocoileus virginianus) with traces of ritual ceremonies.

El Abra stadial

Dated 11,000 BCE, it is characterized by a new cooling of the weather, recession of the forests and a last glaciation. From this period the archaeological places of Tequendama Falls in Soacha shows lithic instruments (tequendamenses tools) with a more smooth manufacture, many of them made with materials bring to this places from the Magdalena river valley, such as Quartzite.


At 10,000 years BCE the last glaciation ended, the Andean forest appeared again. The lithic instruments show a rise in the recollecting activities, with rodents and vegetables consumed, and low amounts of large animals hunting. The Abra caves were abandoned gradually.


At 5,000 BCE agriculture was established in terraces, grinding stone instruments can be observed in association with itinerant habits. The abriense type instruments disappear.


Correal Urrego, Gonzalo 1980: "Estado actual de las investigaciones sobre la etapa litica en Colombia"; Antropologicas 2:11-30. Colombian Antropologic Society, Bogota.

1990: "Evidencias culturales durante el Pleistoeno y Holoceno de Colombia"; Revista de Arqueologia Americana, 1:69-89. Instituto Panamericano de Geografia e Historia, Mexico.

Correal, Gonzalo; Thomas van der Hammen and J.C. Lerman 1970: "Artefactos liticos de abrigos en El Abra, Colombia"; Revista Colombiana de Antropologia 14: 9-46.

Hurt, Wesley; T. van der Hammen and Correal, G. 1976: "La ecologia y tecnologia de los abrigos rocosos en El Abra, Sabana de Bogota, Colombia"; Boletin de la Sociedad Geografica Colombiana XXX (109): 1-21. Bogota.

Van der Hammen, Thomas y E. Gonzalez 1963: "Historia de clima y vegetacion del Pleistoceno suprior y Holoceno de la Sabana de Bogota"; Boletin Geologico XI (1-3): 189-266. Bogota.

Van der Hammen, T. and Correal, G. 1978: "Prehistoric man on the Sabana de Bogota: data for an ecologiacal prehistory"; Paleography, Paleoclimatology, Paleoecology 25:179-190.

"El hombre prehistorico en la Sabana de Bogota: datos para una prehistoria ecologica"; Thomas van der Hammen 1992: Historia, Ecologia y Vegetacion: 217-231. Corporacion Araracuara; Bogota ISBN 958-95379-4-4

Didn't find what you were looking for.
Need more information for your travel research or homework?
Ask your questions at the forum about Archaeological sites in Colombia or help others to find answers.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article El Abra

Disclaimer - Privacy Policy - 2009