Checking Out Medellin’s Hidden Petroglyphs

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Checking Out Medellin’s Hidden Petroglyphs

TLDR? The Petroglyph Park in Medellin has several drawn and carved pieces from over a thousand years ago! 

Medellin stands out for its art and representatives, fashion, culture, and history.

Such is the conservation and respect for heritage and ancestors that in Itagui, south of the city, you can find the Petroglyph Park with stones marked with drawings that date back thousands of years.

If you’re curious about this park, continue reading and find everything you need to know about this hidden legacy of Antioquian ancestors!

History of the Park

The engraved stones found in the Petroglyph Park belong to ancient indigenous cultures that inhabited this place.

The first discovery was made around 1924 when Itagūí was developing as an important urban and industrial space in Medellin.

In 1954 a new report was given by scientists on the existence of these carved rocks. After studies of the engravings and other ceramic elements found in the sector, they deduced that these were between 1,200 and 1,500 years old.

A couple of years after this discovery, in 1979, anthropologist and researcher professor Graciliano Arcila dedicated himself to studying these petroglyphs and ancient elements, founding a museum named after him.

Where Is the Petroglyph Park?

The Petroglyph Park is in El Rosario, Itagūí, a town belonging to Medellin’s urban sector, where engraved rocks are easy to find as they’re in a green area next to the road.

Close to this natural spot, you’ll find the community museum Museo Graciliano Arcila Vélez in the Miranda neighborhood, which houses the area’s cultural and archaeological wealth, as well as this town’s Institute of Culture.

These places are very close to each other. 

To get there, take the Metro System and travel through Line A until you reach Itagui station. At the station, you can take an integrated bus or a 30-minute walk to the little mountain where Petroglyph Park is.

What to Find in the Petroglyph Park 

This park is the only one that contains rock arts of this type and with these characteristics in the Aburra Valley. There are places with one or two engravings in Envigado, Barbosa, and Girardota, but the site of Itagūí stands out for its large number of carved stones and figures.

Although there’s no proof of this, the popular belief is that these petroglyphs belonged to tribes descending from the Chibchas of southern Medellin, such as the Nutabe.

In this remote and wooded area of Itagūí, some of the large rocks have very noticeable designs, and others show just the remains of what was once an important symbol.

These arts were often means of communication, so you can decipher the codes with which ancient Colombians spoke to each other!

The Museum

The Arcila Vélez Graciliano Community Museum, founded in 2011, is located near Petroglyph Park. It’s a socio-cultural experience aiming to achieve a social appropriation of the petroglyphs’ cultural and natural heritage.

This museum also started a project called The Itinerant Motorcycle Museum—Art, Science, and Culture on Wheels. The project is recognized and awarded nationally.

This project brings replicas of drawings captured from the original petroglyphs and other archaeological pieces to schools and other groups in Medellin. In doing so, they seek to promote local pride and encourage national identity through ancestral connections.

The Park’s Future

Itagui’s government has been studying and working for years to build an archaeological park in these petroglyph areas. The project consists of three moments:

  • Raising awareness
  • Acquiring and affecting the properties
  • Construction of the archaeological park

However, in recent years, there’s been a lot of discussion between the government and Medellin’s citizens.

The community seeks to preserve and maintain the archaeological heritage that rests on the still natural soils of the town. However, this has been no easy feat due to the deteriorated state of the area.

Plus, the exposure to harmful elements, such as gasses emitted by industry and cars has also made it tough to conserve. As a result, some institutions have had to fight for this space’s conservation.

Visit the Petroglyph Park

This tour is for the inveterate curious and lovers of nature, history, art, and culture. The Petroglyph Park combines the best of all these areas in one. Visit this park and be amazed by drawings on rocks from more than a thousand years ago.

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