Discover the secret treasures of the mythical city of gold in new exhibition


Exhibits from El Dorado, South America’s mythical city of gold, are to be revealed in a new exhibition of ancient art.

Ceremonial gold helmets and objects used during ritual drug taking are due to go on display at the British Museum in London, England.


El Dorado is often misinterpreted as a mythical city of gold, but the name actually refers to a ritual that took place at a lake near the modern day city of Bogota in Colombia where the new ruler of one of the native tribes was covered in powdered gold before diving into the water.

The exhibition will feature objects that were salvaged from the late before the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century.


Among the objects on show are a gold and platinum container used to store lime powder which mixed with coca leaves and chewed.

Elisenda Vila Llonch, the exhibition curator, said the dirge was valued so highly because it ‘gives you extra strength to work in high altitudes, in very cold climates and it suppresses hunger.’


Museum Director Neil MacGregor said: “Ancient Colombia has long represented a great fascination to the outside world and yet there is very little understood about these unique and varied cultures.

“As part of the Museum’s series of exhibitions that shine a light on little known and complex ancient societies this exhibition will give our visitors a glimpse into these fascinating cultures of pre-hispanic South America and a chance to explore the legend of El Dorado through these stunning objects.”

Beyond El Dorado: Power and gold in ancient Colombia runs from October 17 to March 23.



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