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Sinú  

Warwick Bray and Trent Barnes

Archaeological zone and style of metalwork produced in the three great 16th-century chiefdoms of Fincenú, Pancenú, and Cenúfana in the Caribbean lowlands of Colombia during the millennium before the Spanish Conquest. The Sinú style also extended to the San Jorge Basin and the lower Cauca and Nechí drainages. Many of these lowland areas are seasonally flooded but were turned into prime farmland by the construction of more than 500,000 ha of ridged and drained fields linked by a canal network. Besides landscape architecture, the Sinú zone is noted for its goldwork (see fig.). Burial mounds, looted from Colonial times to the present, have yielded bells, human, and animal pendants, breastplates, nose ornaments, fan-shaped dangling ear ornaments produced by the ‘false filigree’ technique (see South America, Pre-Columbian, §VIII, 5), and socketed staff heads surmounted by human figures, animals, or birds. With these are found incised and modelled pottery, shell jewellery, clay figurines, and fine textile fragments. The origins of the Sinú style go back to the early centuries ...