More of 3,000 Ecuadorian archaeological objects, including the most impressive works of the Manteña civilization, are kept in the warehouses of a museum in Washington, of which the government of Quito says it wants them removed so that people can better appreciate the history of Ecuador.
The treasure includes monumental stone stelae and 20 high chairs'positions of powerStone used by hierarchs that the culture maintains, which had its era of splendor among the 9th and 14th centuries, more or less parallel to that of the Incas in Peru.
- Pieces that are part of the collection
In Ecuador there are only three chairs of this typesays the Ministry of Heritage. "It is the largest collection of Manteña culture that exists”, Tells Efe Jorge Marcos, the director of the Cerro de Hoja-Jaboncillo project.
Hill of Leaves-Jaboncillo, an archaeological site discovered by the American explorer Marshall Saville in 1906, is where the objects preserved in Washington were found before being transferred to the United States.
“We were familiar with the academic work on the pieces and we know that the National Museum of the American Indian has an important Ecuadorian archaeological collection, but we do not know how much or what its value is.”, said the Minister of Heritage María Fernanda Espinosa at a press conference on Monday.
Knowledge of these works was limited to published references and reports of a handful of Ecuadorian archaeologists who were able to see them including Marcos, who examined them in their original boxes at a New York warehouse in 1971 when I was studying at the University of Illinois.
Last week he saw them again together with Espinosa in the conservation rooms of the National American Indian Museum in Washington. “What we have found here is of the finest quality”, Says the minister, adding that some of the pieces are absolutely unique and of superior value to anyone in Ecuador.
Cerro de Hoja-Jaboncillo, which covers 3,500 hectares, is the largest archaeological area in the country. It is located in a humid area along the coast where the pre-Columbian inhabitants they dug underground silos and practiced intensive agriculture, according to experts.
Saville encountered the remains of this culture in the same way that his compatriot Hiram Bingham, a Yale university professor, discovered Machu Picchu in Peru five years later, run by local guides. Peru was able to recover the archaeological pieces from Yale after a long litigation and an international pressure campaign.
For now, Ecuador has chosen cooperate together with the United States museum although Espinosa does not rule out that in the future his country may request "part of that collection”. Saville took those pieces out of the country legallysays Marcos.
Graduated in Journalism and Audiovisual Communication, since I was little I have been attracted to the world of information and audiovisual production. Passion for informing and being informed of what is happening in every corner of the planet. Likewise, I am pleased to be part of the creation of an audiovisual product that will later entertain or inform people. My interests include cinema, photography, the environment and, above all, history. I consider it essential to know the origin of things to know where we come from and where we are going. Special interest in curiosities, mysteries and anecdotal events in our history.