Discover the truth behind the myth and explore life in ancient Colombia in this ore-inspiring new exhibition at the British Museum.
For centuries, Europeans believed El Dorado (or 'the golden one') was a lost city of gold in South America. In fact, it refers to a ritual that was practised at Lake Guatavita, near what is now Bogotá, in which a newly elected leader would dive into the lake covered in powdered gold.
Beyond El Dorado explores what Colombia was like before the Spanish arrived, charting life in the ancient civilisation from 1600 BC to AD 1700. Discover how gold was used by the elite to assert their power and divinity, and find out how gold, music, dancing, sunlight and hallucinogenic substances were used to engage with animal spirits.
There are more than 300 fascinating objects to see, including animal iconography, textiles, spectacular gold masks, relics of funereal rituals, one of the few San Agustín stone sculptures held outside Colombia, and ceramic and stone necklaces excavated from Lake Guatavita in the early 20th century.
The exhibition is organised in partnership with the Museo del Oro in Bogotá, one of the biggest and best collections of Pre-Hispanic gold in the world.