The Ancient Jama-Coaque Culture
The northern coast of Ecuador is renowned for its tranquil beaches and picturesque villages that are located along the coastline. In the Manabi Province is a town by the name of Jama, which combines the peacefulness of its beaches with the best seafood in the world and a rich history. It is here, in the peaceful town that is the picture of serenity, where archeological diggings have revealed the secrets and heritage of the Jama-Coaque people and this magnificent culture.
The town of Jama derives its name from the fascinating Jama-Coaque people who inhabited the forested landscapes that surrounded the coastline of the Manabi province‘s northern region. They are an ancient civilization that inhabited the region several thousand years ago, and through archaeological research much has been learnt about this fascinating community. It is known that as far back as 500 BC the Jama-Coaque people were using canoes made of balsa wood to navigate the waters of the Pacific Ocean, and it is said that they were very able and skilled seafarers. They were in fact such an advanced community that they took on trade expeditions to Chile and Mexico.
By looking at the artifacts that were uncovered at archeological sites, it was found that the Jama-Coaque were skilled in creating various textiles, made use of a number of tools in their daily lives and were famous for their creative ornamentation. By examining the ornaments and sculptures that were discovered, the archaeologists have managed to uncover that the figures, which depict a variety of people such as cooks, rulers, warriors, musicians and fishermen were used as codes that could be used to differentiate between the clans, as well as ethnic heritage and ranking within the clan.
The Jama-Coaque communities were skilled in creating ceramic pottery items as well, which again showed that they were a very sophisticated tribe. The pottery recovered from the sites is on display at the Jama Municipal Museum. Tragically, the entire culture was lost when the Spanish invaded Ecuador on a mission to conquer the Inca Empire.