Quimbaya Artifacts – Advanced Technology or Abstract Art


The Quimbaya artifacts are a group of small gold pieces found in Colombia, South America and crafted by the Quimbaya people.  The overtly stylized gold objects measure between 2″ and 3″, with each piece customized to a unique look.  Researchers have classified them as depictions of lizards, butterflies, birds, and insects common to the area, yet it’s unmistakable that they also look like many of our modern-day flying machines; some complete with tail rudders and propellers.  The existence of so many similarities to modern-day airplanes supports the “out of place artifact” theory – they seem far too advanced for the Quimbaya.   Even though the Quimbaya produced many different types of gold objects, most of the attention is focused on the ones which appear too advanced for their early civilization.

Out of Place Artifacts

An Out of Place Artifact is one that challenges the historical record in some way, shape or form.  These can be items which seem too advanced for a particular civilization or in some cases, items which show a human presence, when no humans were supposed to exist.  The term is rarely used by scientists or archeologists, but widely accepted by those who believe in ancient astronaut scenarios, students of the paranormal, and UFO enthusiasts.  The scientific community has refuted many claims and shown many items to be hoaxes, such as the Tuscon artifacts or the Calaveras Skull but there are some which are still impossible to connect to the time period they are associated with.

Origins of the Quimbaya Artifacts

One of the difficulties with proper classification of these items comes from the fact that they weren’t discovered through normal archeological processes. They were looted in the late 1800’s from an area known as the Central Cauca Valley. Archeologists have theorized that the items came from two tombs, but cannot say so with 100% certainty.   The current collection of 123 items only exists because someone turned them into the Colombian authorities.  It’s almost certain that many similar items from the region exist in private collections throughout the world.

The Quimbaya Civilization

The Quimbaya civilization inhabited the areas around the Cauca River Valley on the western slopes of the Andes mountains.  There is no clear evidence that pinpoints when the Quimbaya came into being, however most researchers agree it was sometime in the 1st Century BC.  They were expert hunters, grew many different and diverse crops, fished, and had many industries including gold mining and goldsmithing.  The Quimbaya civilization reached it’s peak in the period between the 4th and 7th Century AD .  Spanish Conquistadors began to colonize Colombia in 1509 which led to the end of the Quimbaya period.

The people were known for their spectacular gold work with highly detailed and unique designs.  What makes their work unique is the fact that most pieces were made with an alloy of gold and copper.  The Spaniards called this alloy Tumbaga.  It has a lower melting point than either gold or copper alone, but is harder than copper when cooled and more malleable during the working process.  Tumbaga was very versatile and could be cast, hammered, plated, hardened, polished, engraved, embossed, and inlaid easily.  Some samples of gold items contain almost no copper, while others are more than 90% copper and many contain other metals such as silver.

Early Airplanes Design?

One theory which gotten significant attention over the years is that some of the Quimbaya artifacts are scale models of airplanes or flying machines.  A major fact to consider before accepting this theory is that a few of the objects do not resemble any living creature ever known to exist.  Although the concept of aviation dates back several thousand year, the concept of an aircraft only dates back to the early 1900’s.  What’s even more interesting is that two aeronautical engineers,  Peter Belting and Conrad Lubbers used the dimensions of the Quimbala artifacts to create large scale models of these artifacts, which proved successful in flight testing.  They proved that the designs fly with both simple single-propeller power and jet power.

Quimbaya Petroglyphs

Petroglyphs and stone carvings in the hard granite, in the area where the ancient Quimbaya lived add yet another layer of mystery to the story.  In places like the Park of the Marked Stones and Natural Park of Las Piedras Marcadas, carvings seem to support some knowledge of constellations and the stars.  Little else is known about these carvings, including the date they were made or their true meaning.  Some theorize that they were made in honor of extraterrestrial encounters.



The artifacts are clearly the work of master craftsmen with an eye for detail, but seem out of place for the time period.  We know that there are no creatures found in nature with triangular shaped bodies or wings.  They may indeed be the work of a group of abstract artists who put their own creative spin on images of insects, birds, or even fish, but no one is sure.  It’s more than just a coincidence that the artifacts can be scaled up and actually fly.  Perhaps they were nothing more than religious articles from a sect that prayed to the stars, or highly ornate pieces of jewelry for the ruling class.  There are even beliefs that the artifacts have a link to the Nazca Lines, however no evidence has been brought forth in support of it other than the ancient runway theories.  Yet, even though on the surface it appears that the evidence supports the ancient airplane theory, if the Quimbaya had such skills, then why aren’t there any flying machines buried in the sand?

Further Reading

The Nazca Lines

Gold Museum in Bogota, Colombia


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