The Valdivia culture settled in the southern Ecuadorian coast, around the Santa Elena Peninsula. They also had limited settlements in the interior of the continent. They lived in a very arid zone, in which the Río Blanco is the only source of water and vegetation. The Valdivia people had an incipient social organization stemming from reciprocal relations and kinship ties in settlements located on river meadows.

During its diverse phases, this culture specialized in the production of objects made using different materials and techniques, among them stone carving and clay modeling. The developed and made pottery accessible to all in the region. Their designs are characterized by the use of geometric shapes and straight lines, and decoration through modeling, incisions and stamping.  Their representations of women are very common and have become famous worldwide. These figurines represent women at different stages of development, and it is thought that they may have been part of rites of passage.