Ciudad Perdida sits at the end of a three-day, 23.3-kilometer hike through the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains. Photo: Mig Pascual
Since 2009, Dr. Santiago Giraldo has led GHF’s efforts at Ciudad Perdida, Spanish for “Lost City,” a spectacular and mysterious ancient settlement situated high in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains. Working in partnership with the Colombian Institute of Anthropology and History (ICANH), one of the project’s main goals has been to document and map the main site and other outlying settlements that haven’t been visited in years by anyone other than looters.
In a video interview last summer with CCTV’s Americas Now, an international broadcast news magazine, Dr. Giraldo led the show’s host on a visit of the site and explained, “What we’re going to be doing in the next few field seasons is explore all this area right here that you see as forest cover, because we’ve been finding that the structures keep on going down toward the river, and that area hasn’t been surveyed. So we’re trying to understand to what extent this city actually extends down to the river and what would be its limits.”
In 2013, as reported in the current issue of Popular Archaeology, Dr. Giraldo will lead a team of scientists, students and volunteers in surveying and investigating a number of additional locations within the 2,000-square-mile Teyuna region, “exploring potential ancient residential and other settlement sites that will help fill in the picture of a civilization that today only exists in ruins and oral stories and recollections handed down from generation to generation among the current indigenous people who still live near or among the ruins.”
to explore Ciudad Perdida on Global Heritage Network.
Specifically, Dr. Giraldo’s team will focus on surveying three poorly understood sites located a short distance from the core area of Ciudad Perdida, with the goal of determining their relationship to the larger city. These sites are connected to the core by an already-discovered flagstone path, which still needs to be mapped, along with the surrounding topography and structures located at the sites. The team will also look into the existence of buried sites that predate the Lost City, in order to better understand the site’s origins.
Last September, at Bogota’s Museo del Oro, ICANH archaeologist Juan Felipe Pérez made the first public presentation of the Teyuna-Ciudad Perdida Archaeological Park Master Management Plan, a much anticipated technical paper drafted with support from GHF. The plan facilitates preservation of the park’s ancient features, sustainable tourism with minimized visitor impact, biological and environment assessments of the Buritaca Valley, and community development for the indigenous and local communities.