The latest issue of National Geographic the prestigious North American magazine distributed worldwide presents ion the cover of its Spanish January edition the article:”EL DORADO OF PANAMA”. The very interesting article signed by A R Williams refers to new findings on “Los Caños” in the Panamanian province of Coclé very close, only two miles, from the so called Sitio Conte.
Obviously our Panamanian ancestors, of whom descends the ngäbes- buglés and the Gunas (formerly Kunas) had develop a civilization where the work of jewellery where highly develop and there was a rich in precious metals population.
Indeed the discovery of “Sitio Conte” had been product of chance. Discovery was launched at the beginning of the twentieth century; when the Grande River overflow opened a great channel on the grounds of the ranch of the Conte family. Don Moises Conte was in 1996, when he was a centennial survivor of the discovery, aware that in 1915, when he was thirteen years old, some fishermen saw something dazzling in one of the sides of the flooded Grande River. Then they found a brilliant piece of gold out of the ground. As it was a custom at that time, as it was at the Conte family ranch the fishermen handed over the piece of gold to the owners of the land.
The Conte family made contact with a North American, who lived in the now disappeared canal zone who associated them with two American universities. A contract was then established with Harvard University to start the work of archeological excavation which resulted in the recovery of big golden breast band, earrings, and necklaces of pure gold, carved whale bones, ceramic pieces, and cloves of shark ornaments, agate and serpentine which were unearthed over ninety tombs
Archeoligist Samuel Lothop, an anthropologist who participated in the second excavation that took place twenty years later, ensures that these human groups which the ngäbes come from, were the one of the tribes that reseated the Spaniard invasion in early 16th century.
The Spaniards describe in their chronicles that Indian military chiefs were covered in gold as a way to show their ranks to enter in combat. Taking advantage of the superiority of their armament the Spanish pointed their muskets rather than to fight the enemy, for stealing his gold. Then they unearthed the tombs in the cemeteries where they took the gold from the ancestors of the current ngäbes. According to the notice of National Geographic stated that only in one thumb they carried more than 100 pounds of pure gold.
Today it is believed that tombs found in Sitio Conte are much older than that found by the Spaniards. It is believed that the Sitio Conte tombs are from the 8th century to 10th century A.C. or about five hundred years before.
However the recent discovery is located at two miles from Sitio Conte in a placed named El Caño. The Spanish archeologist Julia Mayo was dedicated for many years to study the area of Gran Coclé, began excavation in 2005. Following the route drawn in 1925 by a north American fortune-hunter named Hyatt Verrill who spotted a row of monoliths and decided to dig holes in a crude and destructive way, and then claimed to have found only three skeletons and any gold, something that can’t be assured. In 2010 the archeologist Julia Mayo decided to excave a circular area with small elevation in a range of about 44 yards. It was there where was digging from January to April last year a chieftain whose chest was adorned with two sandglass, four bracelets, a ring of bells, a belt with two thousand tiny gold spheres. Then in a second excavation were unearthed four shields of gold, four bracelets and an emerald.
Radiocarbon tests established the date of skeletons near the year 900 DC. It must be the reason why it was not sacked by Spanish fortune hunters. But the analysis developed by the Smithsonian institution where the archeologist Mayo is investigating, determined that natural impurities from the unearthed gold demonstrates that the metal was mined and worked by goldsmiths of the area, then it rules out the it was brought from the Inca empire of the south.
This also shows that the ancient ngäbes people possessed enough economic development to allow devote part of its inhabitants to engage in the art of goldsmith in a level of cultural development necessary for the existence of a population who has the skill to appreciate their fine work.
Features presented by this monumental discovery that appears on the cover of National Geographic make some people, including the archeologist Julia Mayo, consider that legendary “El Dorado” put in writing in Spanish chronicles, has been found in Coclé. This is the place where in their supine ignorance (redundancy is purposely), the Iberians claimed there where chieftains who bathed in gold.