Science: A Glimpse of El Dorado

Manhattan welcomes a trove of ancient Colombian gold

To the conquistadors, the legend was a promise of fabled riches—a great lost city or a temple filled with treasures or perhaps an entire mountain of gold. Indeed, El Dorado (Spanish for "the gilded one") may well have had a basis in fact. Folklore holds that Colombia's Muisca Indians, who dwelt in the highlands near present-day Bogotá, installed their kings by dusting their naked bodies with gold and then washing them in nearby Lake Guatavita. To complete the ritual, they dropped gold and jewels into the holy...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!