We became interested in Chirije initially because we heard there was an archeological dig at the site. It was later that we learned there was an ecolodge there and even later that we learned that there were people who went to Chirije to try to see UFOs. We really wanted to go to Chirije primarily to see the museum there and look at the artifacts.
One quick note – some of our readers have asked me how to pronounce Chirije. It is pronounced Cheer-Ree-Hey.
As I mentioned in the introduction to the Chirije series, the site has been occupied for thousands of years and was an important site in the ancient spondylus trade route. One of the men who works and lives at Chirije started digging in the hillside and came upon some artifacts made of clay. Since the initial discoveries, archeologists have visited the site and many of the artifacts were moved to museums. The museum in Bahia has an extensive display of artifacts from Chirije in modern glass cases. Mary and I toured that museum and will show you the pictures we took there in another post.
Not all of the artifacts were removed though and Chirije has a small unique museum on site which is cut into the hillside showing where the artifacts were discovered.
Each level represents hundreds of years worth of accumulated debris as new settlers lived on top of older civilizations and left behind items they had made and either discarded or lost. The following slide show contains some of the pottery and curious dolls discovered and preserved at Chirije.
Life is good in Ecuador (and apparently has been good for thousands of years!)
Written by John – Photographs by John Macdonald and Lori Thomay