La Florida Archaeological Site Museum
FONSAL is an organisation that was established in Quito and is responsible for the safeguarding of the heritage of the city and of Ecuador. To accomplish this mission, the organisation has a team of architects and archaeologists who work tirelessly to preserve archaeological sites and in turn conserve the history of the country. Their latest challenge has been the excavation of the La Florida Archaeological Site. Although there is still work to be done to complete the excavation, ten burial sites have been excavated and have been opened to the public.
The La Florida Archaeological Site Museum is found at the base of the picturesque Pichincha Volcano, and its breathtaking surroundings add to the tranquil and unique atmosphere of the sites. Visiting this magnificent site offers the public the opportunity to travel back in time and become familiar with the ancient tribes that once inhabited the valleys of Quito and carved out an existence here before the time of the Incas and the arrival of the Spanish invaders. The chambers that are located at this site not only contained the bodies of these tribesmen, but many fascinating artifacts. Archaeologists found items such as spondylus shells, beautiful and delicate jewelry, various different shells, ornaments created from gold and detailed wooden carvings. Excavations also revealed much about the burial rituals of this ancient community, as most of the bodies were draped in ponchos made of spondylus shell, indicating that the bodies were of great importance, for instance leaders or rulers of the tribe.
The museum has replicas of the burial chambers on display, which has been reproduced with the greatest amount of care and detail, even using forensic medical techniques to bring the faces of the bodies to life. A camera, mounted on a robot which was operated by remote control, captured the chambers and parts of the site which are inaccessible to the public. The chambers have been dated back to between the years 220 to 640 AD, and this is a vital find in regard to the culture and history of Quito. The La Florida Archaeological Site Museum also has all the artifacts that have been found in the chambers on display, and reveals a very interesting part of the heritage of Ecuador, which, thanks to FONSAL, will be preserved for future generations.