Puerto Hormiga (modern Puerto Badel) is an archaeological shell midden that gives its name to the earliest pottery tradition found in the Americas. The pottery is characterized by the presence of fiber temper (fibers of grasses mixed with clay) and is distributed in the lowlands of northern Colombia. The Puerto Hormiga site was excavated by Gerardo Reichel Dolmatoff and Alicia Dussan de Reichel in 1961 and 1963. It is located 1,100 feet from a natural channel (Canal del Dique) in the high part of an alluvial terrace. The shell midden had a ring shape with a diameter between 258 and 281 feet and a height of 3.9 feet. The excavated artifacts are mainly fragments of fiber-temper pottery (70 percent); the rest is pottery with a sand temper (30 percent). The lithic material consists predominantly of tools for scraping, grinding, and pounding.
The shell midden is composed of shells from the genera Pitar (75 percent) and Ostrea (25 percent). The site was directly influenced by the sea; it may have been on the shore of a deep bay or large lagoon formed after a sea-level transgression. The chronology of the site falls between 3100 bce and 2500 bce Other sites that form part of this tradition include the shell middens of Bucarelia and Puerto Chacho; the riverine site of El Pozón; and the inland sites of El Bongal, El Guamo, San Jacinto 2, and San Jacinto 1. San Jacinto 1 is currently the oldest and most extensively excavated of these. It dates from between 4000 bce and 3750 bce
See alsoArchaeology .
Gerardo Reichel Dolmatoff, Arqueología de Colombia (1986).
John W. Hoopes, "Ford Revisited: A Critical Review of the Chronology and Relationships of the Earliest Ceramic Complexes in the New World, 6000–1500 B.C.," in Journal of World Prehistory 8, no. 1 (1994): 1-49.
Langebaek, Carl Henrik, and Alejandro Dever. Arqueología en el Bajo Magdalena: Un estudio de los primeros agri-cultores del Caribe colombiano. Bogotá: Departamento de Antropología, Universidad de los Andes, 2000.
Reichel-Dolmatoff, Gerardo. Arqueología de Colombia: Un texto introductorio. 2nd Ed. Bogotá: Magistra Editores: Asesoría Editorial, 1997.
Reichel-Dolmatoff, Gerardo, Augusto Oyuela-Caycedo, and J. Scott Raymond, Eds. Recent Advances in the Archaeology of the Northern Andes: In Memory of Gerardo Reichel-Dolmatoff. Los Angeles: Institute of Archaeology, University of California, Los Angeles, 1998.