Before the arrival of Europeans, the South American continent was inhabited by a number of indigenous groups. Due to a combination of tropical weather, significant rainfall, and the destruction and misrepresentation of many records by Spanish conquistadors, our understanding of the peoples of this region is limited.
The Tairona formed mid- to large-size population centers, consisting of stone pathways, terraces, protected waterways, and spaces dedicated to agricultural produce. Their economy was primarily agricultural, cultivating corn, pineapple, yucca, and other local foodstuffs. The Tayrona are considered quite advanced for their time period. Surviving archaeological sites consisted of formed terraces and small scale underground stone channels. They also were known to actively collect and process salt, which was a significant trading commodity. We know that they traded with other indigenous groups along the coast and interior. Archaeological excavations have recovered significant works in pottery, stonework and gold.