The Cerro Narrío culture was located in the southern Ecuadorian Andes, in what are now the provinces of Cañar and Azuay. The temperate, humid climate of the region, which was originally covered with mountain forest and natural grassland, was ideally suited to agriculture, the culture’s main activity. The Cerro Narrío people also raised guinea pigs and had large herds of camelids.
Their geographical location and strategic position made them a point of passage and control between the coast and the Amazon. Their contact with Valdivia is evident in workshops to work and redistribute Spondylus conch, which was used to make Ukuyayas, or amulets representing their ancestors. The redistribution of such objects served to strengthen the symbology and use of this shell in the highlands.
Stone work was very important to the Cerro Narrío culture. Objects and ornaments were made using serpentine, chalcedony, turquoise and alabaster. Its pottery usually features fine walls painted in red and decorated with highly polished, white concave lines.