El Fosil is a must excursion from Villa de Leyva, which you can do either on horseback, as we did, or with a jeep. Here, a 120 million year old baby “Kronosaurus” fossil is on display, at the very place where it was found in 1977. Since its tail went missing it is “only” 7 meters in seize, making it the world’s largest complete fossil of this pre-historic marine reptile.
This part of Columbia, like, Tatacoa desert, was an ocean at the time of the Kronosauraus’ fatal end. Even nowadays, small fossils are so common here that they are used for decorating floors and walls in people’s homes.
Nearby El Infiernito was an astronomical observatory for the Muisca culture a few centuries AD. It is best described as two parallel rows of one meter high cylindrical stones, about 9 meters apart,. Within each row the stones are about 0.5 meter apart from each other. The length of the shadow cast by the stones helped the Muiscas determine the planting season. The day of shortest shadow told the beginning of summer, the day of the longest shadow signalled the winter season.
A bit further away giant upright phalluses garnish the scenery, symbols for the fertile soil so essential for the Muisca’s high developed agriculture. Thus also being a ritual site the early Christian conquistadores named this place El Infiernito / Little Hell in a desperate attempt to keep the Muiscas away from it.