I spent a week in Old Town Quito and walked to this museum 3 times. It took half an hour, one way, and was safe and fun the whole way, passing thru the Parque de Alameda and the artists' Parque El Ejido. The museum was closed Mondays, but I went back twice and loved it. It is "really" Ecuador's "National Museum of Archaeology" but everyone still calls it by its old name. It is located in the modern Casa de la Cultura complex. It is free and not crowded except for the occasional school groups that come and go quickly. Fabulous displays and a huge collection of fine Pre-Columbian Art. The gold collection is large and well displayed, as are all collections. But the beauty of the museum is the pre-Inca ceramics and sculptures which are displayed by culture group, with good explanations of each: Valdivia stone and ceramics back to 3800 BC (!!!), with subsequent Machalilla and Chorrera artifacts still before the AD era. What emerges is a picture of ancient Ecuador with many cultures and phases, each unique but expressing different aspects or themes. Example: The ancient basketman display of ceramic and stone anthropomorphic vases of a man carrying a large basket, symbolizing the way trade routes used to work. Pack animals like the llama were a very late introduction to Ecuador, from Peru.
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