Abstract

e of Colombia, have been the subject of much speculation and fanciful interpretation for over four centuries. Not until recently, however, has systematic archaeological investigation identified El Infiernito as an astronomicalmeteorological observatory of the ancient Muisca culture. Modern surveys have begun to reconstruct the settlement history of the Leiva Valley, but little is known about the actual chiefdom community (ranked kinship society) for the stone observatory or how the it related to other communities in the region. Argued to have functioned as a calendar monument recording solar cycles, celestial alignments, and forecasting weather, many alternative interpretations are often uncritically accepted and fuel speculation for a local tourist industry as well as pseudoscientific fantasy. No serious study has attempted to ascertain if these monuments connect to anything tangible on the natural and cultural landscapes such as actual water features and specific celestial events. In an environment where effective rainfall is often insufficient or inconveniently timed for farming and alluvial farmland subject to intense erosion caused by periodic drought and flooding, the cosmological importance of fertility both agricultural and human tied to vital water sources and beneficial rainfall must have been of primary concern to Muisca leaders. A tangible response by a chiefly elite to such unpredictable conditions would include engineering a hydraulic landscape linked to intangible religious cosmology embodied in central stone monuments such as the monolithic observatory, temple structures, and artistic depictions of fertility. This report discusses the subsistence and ritual roles of water at El Infiernito based on recent climate change and human ecodynamic (socio-ecological dynamics of coupled human and natural systems) research. Recently, an engineered hydraulic landscape consisting of irrigation canals, check dams and drainage conduits, as well as potential raised

How to Cite
P. SMYTH, Michael. Chiefdom Ecodynamics and Muisca Cosmology in the Valley of Leiva, Highland Colombia. Global Journal of Human-Social Science Research, [S.l.], nov. 2017. ISSN 2249-460X. Available at: <https://socialscienceresearch.org/index.php/GJHSS/article/view/2321>. Date accessed: 09 mar. 2021.