Sitio Conte, Panama

Work being done at Sitio Conte.

Located in central Panama, the Rio Grande de Coclé floods during the rainy season. In the early 20th century, the Conte family noticed that the shifting course of the river was exposing ancient burials on the river’s edge. In 1940, the Penn Museum excavated the now-famous Sitio Conte (Conte Site) and found archaeological evidence of a large cemetery including an impressive burial of a chief that had been buried with lots of gold and numerous other individuals. The evidence, although dating to the late 1st millennium CE, seemed to corroborate Spanish accounts of events and rituals surrounding the burial of powerful chiefs for the Quevi culture in the late 16th century CE.