The first human settlements in the current Ecuadorian territory, specifically in the Costa region, would have been located at the western end of the Santa Elena peninsula, a geographical point better known as Sumpa. Archaeological studies carried out by Dr. Karen Stothert of Fordham University, New York, and Ana Maritza Freire, a researcher at the Central Bank of Ecuador, have indicated the existence of a human group with an approximate age of 7,000 years BC The best evidence for this Scientific work is in the museum Los Amantes de Sumpa.
We come to the Formative period (4,000 – 900 BC), time in which the Valdivia, Machalilla and Chorrera cultures inhabited, in that order of time. These village societies settled in the current provinces of Manabí, Santa Elena, Guayas and El Oro, having as subsistence the cultivation of corn, cassava, beans and cotton, to which activities such as fishing were added, especially shark , catfish, corvina, snook and sea turtle; The hunt; pottery, textiles, and stonework.
Valdivia was discovered in 1956 by Emilio Estrada, from Guayaquil, who was passionate about archeology rather than his own profession as an economist. For this discovery, the help of the American archaeologists Betty Meggers and her husband Clifford Evans was important, plus the intervention of Francisco Huerta Rendón, Carlos Cevallos Menéndez, Julio Vieri and the legacy of Max Uhle and Marshall Saville, among other nationals and foreigners from subsequent research such as Olaf Holm, Pedro Porras, Jorge Marcos, James Zaeidler …
Between the Valdivia and Machalilla cultures, they could define certain advances in the technology of the time; that is, the ceramic objects with decorative paintings and the custom of the deformation of the skull for aesthetic purposes and social level, as well as the use of earrings. As for the Chorrera culture, it highlighted a more hierarchical society, greater dispersion of its technology and trade in the other regions of the Sierra and the Amazon, which is why Estrada affirmed that Chorrera was the “nucleus of the Ecuadorian nationality ”.
In the Development period (900 BC – 800 AD), the population and its technique in the use of metals increased, as confirmed by studies on the La Tolita, Jama Coaque, Bahía de Caráquez and Guangala cultures. Of the latter, located in the current province of Guayas -between the Tambo, Verde and Colonche rivers, in Chanduy-, the pottery tradition stood out, the use of copper for body ornaments; and the creation of wind musical instruments such as the ocarina, whistles and bone and ceramic flutes.
Chiefdoms, agricultural tasks and ethnic identities were the main characteristics of the Integration Period (800 AD – 1533 AD). The Manteño-Huancavilca and Milagro-Quevedo cultures flourished at that time. From the first, Jacinto Jijón y Caamaño recognized them as a “confederation of merchants” because they were great navigators. Its scope in trade reached as far as Central America and Peru, carrying cotton fabrics, copper objects, gold and a little silver; obsidian mirrors and the most important of the merchandise: the spondylus shell. In the Milagro-Quevedo culture, the Chonos people stood out, inhabitants of the Guayas river basin who used to build albarradas, a kind of dams to capture rainwater. (I)