The Finest Goldsmiths of the Ancient Americas?

Around 300 AD, a mysterious civilization in Colombia began to sculpt an incredible array of items out of gold. Eventually, these people would become known as the finest goldsmiths of the ancient Americas. Who were the Tairona?

Tairona Pendant (10th-15th century, Colombia)

Tairona Pendant (10th-15th century, Colombia)
Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Chaos Book Club

So, today we have a Chaos book club bonus for you. Chaos is an adventure thriller along the lines of Indiana Jones or books written by Clive Cussler, James Rollins, Douglas Preston, or Steve Berry. If you haven’t already done so, please consider picking up a copy at one of the following locations:

Amazon Paperback * Kindle E-Book * Nook E-Book * Smashwords E-Book * iBooks E-Book * Kobo E-Book * Diesel E-Book * Sony E-Book

Who were the Tairona?

The Tairona were a group of chiefdoms who resided in parts of Colombia from 200 AD until 1600-1650 AD. During this period, they “established over 250 masonry settlements across an area of 2,000 square miles.” This includes the famous Ciudad Perdida, or “Lost City.” Ciudad Perdida was unknown to the outside world until it was discovered by treasure hunters in 1972. When artifacts from this site began to appear on the black market, local authorities investigated and found the city in 1975.

Unfortunately, information about the Tairona people is scarce, limited to some archaeological sites and a few references written by their Spanish conquerors. However, we do know that “they aggressively repelled the Spanish when they attempted to take women and children as slaves in the first contacts.” This led to great losses among the Spanish and ultimately, “a more diplomatic strategy” for disarming and taking control of the locals.

The Tairona people were, in my estimation, the finest gold workers of the pre-Columbian Americas. Their caciques (an example is pictured above) are particularly impressive. These gold cast pendants depict people in richly detailed attire and headdresses. While the subjects are unknown today, they are thought to be chiefs or warriors due to their tough facial expressions and aggressive postures.

Chaos, Gold, & the Tairona?

One of the opening scenes in Chaos takes place at a recently discovered Tairona archaeological site on an isolated plateau in the middle of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. My hero Cy Reed is there to retrieve a cacique. Unfortunately for him, others in the area will do anything to stop him.

At the bottom of the hill, I glanced over my shoulder. Every single worker, male and female alike, raced after me. It was a strange, disconcerting sight, like being chased by an army of angry lemmings.

I sprinted uphill and grabbed my climbing equipment. As I slipped into the harness and secured my weapons, I snuck another look behind me. The workers were right on my tail. I didn’t have much time.

I didn’t have any time.

I stuffed the cacique into my satchel and ran forward to where my climbing rope was still anchored to the boulders below. With a savage cry, I leapt off the cliff. As my feet left the ground, a single thought raced through my mind.

What the hell am I doing?

The hunt for the cacique plays only a minor role in Chaos. But it’s important nevertheless. First, it connects Cy Reed to the mysterious Beverly Ginger, who has her own plans for the cacique. And second, it marks the first domino in a series of incidents that drives treasure hunter Cy Reed back to the one place on earth he truly fears…New York City.

 

Chaos Book Club

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