Museum and Cultural Center of the Lovers of Sumpa, Museums, Culture

The Lovers of Sumpa can be found just a few kilometers southeast of Santa Elena in the peninsula of Sumpa. The remains of the Lovers of Sumpa can be found at the Museum and Cultural Center of the Lovers of Sumpa. However these remains originally came from the archaeological site named Las Vegas. This particular zone is a pre-ceramic settlement that has been successfully excavated to reveal parts of houses, a garbage dump and a cemetery. It is also an important site because it has provided a lot of information that was previously unknown about Neolithic burial practices and ceremonies.

This protected archaeological site is also the only known Paleo-Indian site to be found on the Coast of Ecuador and it dates back to approximately 700 BC. This site is of importance in that it gives evidence of the indigenous people making a transition to a more sedate and agricultural lifestyle. The aim of the museum, which was opened in 1997, is to provide information and to show people the indigenous culture and traditions unique to the Santa Elena Peninsula. Near to the site you will find a building that has photographic evidence of the excavations that took place, as well as three glass cases with the remains of three burials that had taken place.

Research began taking place about ten years before the Museum was inaugurated. In 1971 the Central Bank of Guayaquil took on the project and the plans for the museum were drawn up. What they found fascinating was that they had not only found a burial site of a man and a woman, but it was of a couple lying down with their arms around each other. They felt that this tender embrace perfectly represented the first inhabitants of Santa Elena. Another interesting fact was that stones were found in and around their skeletons almost as if they had been stoned or it had something to do with a ritual. From then onwards the skeletons were named the Lovers of Sumpa. “Sumpa” is a religion thought to have been practiced then.

Inside the actual Lovers of Sumpa Museum you will find an array of exhibits, information and walk-in environments to give you a feel of what it was like to live in each of these different periods of time. As you walk around visiting all the different display rooms, you will see eight large dioramas that help you understand how archaeology actually works and how sites are discovered.

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