The name El Dorado means 'the golden one', and refers to an ancient ritual performed by a Colombian tribe called the Muisca. It involved a man covering himself in powdered gold, jumping into the lake, and emerging as the new Chieftain. Gold was very important in Colombian society; not as a form of monetary value, but one of status.
For this reason, they grew highly skilled in craftsmanship and metalwork. They used sophisticated techniques to make things out of precious metals, textiles, feathers, and stone.
In an upcoming exhibition, The British Museum plan to explore El Dorado's rich and fascinating culture before the Spanish arrived in the sixteenth century. Beyond El Dorado: Power and Gold in Ancient Colombia will open on the 17th October and run until the 23rd March 2014. It will showcase three hundred objects from both their collection, and that of the Museo del Oro, Bogotá. Tickets are £10 for adults, £8 concessions, and under 16s go free.