From prehistoric times, geography has greatly influenced patterns of human settlement and cultural evolution in what is now Colombia. Bordering on two oceans and occupying the point where the American continents meet, this region was a channel for the movement of peoples and ideas within the hemisphere long before the arrival of Europeans. Running north-south, Colombia’s two major river valleys, the Magdalena and the Cauca, provided a corridor between Central America and the Caribbean, on the one hand, and the interior of South America, on the other.
Relics from Colombia’s most famous archaeological site, San Agustín, near the headwaters of the Magdalena River, attest to early mixing of peoples and cultures. The relics from this site include large stone statues of human figures, many with grotesque expressions. Different scholars have linked these figures to cultural influences emanating from the Andes Mountains to the south, the Amazon basin to the east, and even Mesoamerica to the north. Archaeological understanding of San Agustín, like that of much of Colombia’s pre-European past, is limited. But it appears that the site was occupied by a succession of different peoples and served as a cultural center as early as 2,300 years ago. "Colombia" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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