Going to Tabasco; La Venta - Olmec stuff.




              All of the Olmec pieces from the park in Villa Hermosa have a description to their left.  The English translations are a bit off but you'll get the main idea.  There are photos from my trip to Minatitlan and the original site of La Venta, featuring the little shit thug kids I met on the way to Villa Hermosa.

Click on the image for a great big head.


One of about 30 stands on the side of the road West of San Andres Tuxtla. They all sell the exact same grains, honey, fruit marinated in honey water..

Every single container was an empty bottle probably taken from the garbage. This is honey in some old Vodka bottles. Sterilized or just rinsed out??

View from my Minatitlan room, overlooking the zocolo. Most zocolo's have restaurants but this one just had tons of shoe stores.

Shoe shiners, 10-12 of them. Minatitlan is an oil refinery town and actually seems like a little piece of Jersey in Mexico.

These are the little shit thug kids I wrote about, Dec. 28th Update. This is one of my favorite photos- it really captures them!

The kids and this remade head were at the original La Venta site, 120km west of Villa Hermosa.

Also at the original park. Carlos Pellicer paid to have all the major pieces moved to the park in the middle of Villa Hermosa.

Another rock left behind. There's not much to see at the original site.

In Villa Hermosa now. La Venta was the most prominent Olmec center from 900 to 400 bc. Signs of Olmec culture ranged from about 1400 to 300bc.

These heads are thought to be kings, religious leaders or ball players. I rule out the ball player theory - they all look too chunky for that.

The name "Olmec" is misleading - it's what the Aztec called people in this region 2,000 years after the Olmec and means "rubber people".

That later culture made and traded balls for the game of Pelota. The first signs of the game were at original Olmec sites.

The first evidence of a writing system and highly civilized/structured society in Mesoamerica was from the Olmecs.

The Olmecs are seen as a "mother culture".

The Olmec heartland was the swampy lowlands of Tabasco and South-Eastern Veracruz - ecologically similar to that of the Nile Valley and Mesopotamia.

Their culture/religion included Math, Astronomy, calendars, human sacrifice to appease the gods, feathered serpents and other Mesoamerican trends.

Currently the Mayans are credited with creating the number [or concept of] zero in Mesoamerica but the Olmecs may have done it first.

This is a picture of a model for the underground tombs discovered.

This "real-remake" is above ground so we can see it.

Nice kitty.

The heads were carved from single basalt boulders.

The boulders from La Venta came from the Tuxtla mountains, 50 miles away.

Estimates of the larger original boulder weights range from 20 - 40 tons.

17 heads have been discovered so far, four were discovered at La Venta.

Many sources suggest that they used rafts to help move these but I can't imagine them making one big enough.

La Venta was abandoned around 400bc.

Within a few hundred years the Mayans [Yucatan peninsula] to the East and the Zapotec's [Oaxaca] to the West were starting to thrive.

Olmecs were also called "people of jade" and "people of stone" because from their jade and stone artwork.

This is where babies come from.

Here's the "humans are bad" exhibit of the park. All of these types of parks have them but this was a bit more creative.

The Olmec traveled thousands of km's to get their jade and other stone materials.

La venta was discovered, or rediscovered, in 1925.

Smaller kitty.


Ugly duckling.

These little alligators were in pools throughout the zoo area of the park.