Maya and Aztec

Ancient Mesoamerican civilizations

San Andres, Tres Zapotes, Laguna de los Cerros and Las Limas

Category: Olmec

Another ancient settlement – San Andres. Between 1400 and 1150 years. BC flooding occurred here, perhaps, flooding of San Andres, where the higher layer 10 is pure mud. This apparently led to the rise of La Venta. In San Lorenzo, the earliest layers relate to hunt phase (1500-1350 years. BC), Bahio (1350-1250 years. BC) and Chicharras (1250-1150 years. BC ). The city is located 5.5 km north-east of La Venta. In the period from 900 to 400 years. BC, San Andres again became the center of the Olmec civilization. At the site of this settlement has been recently found an amazing discovery – ceramic cylinder the size of a fist engraved with two glyphs, coupled lines with bird’s beak so that the impression of a “talking” birds. Anthropologist Mary Pohl (which opened this finding) believes that this is the earliest evidence of writing in Mesoamerica.

Less ancient, and a smaller size is another settlement – Tres Zapotes (1000-400 years. BC). However, there has not been found any buildings, but the discovery of massive basalt sculptures – stone heads Olmecs. These three heads of the district Tres Zapotes probably represent the three most powerful chiefs in the XI-X centuries. BC

Other important points were middle formative Laguna de los Cerros and Las Limas. In Laguna de los Cerros known 28 stone sculptures, including zoomorphic and sitting figures, and statues of the rulers. Center surrounded by several smaller settlements with one or two sculptures: Kuautotolapan, La Isla, Los Mangos. Excavations located 7 km away the settlement of Llano de Hikaru revealed traces of a specialized workshop for primary processing of the monuments of basalt of Cerro Sintepek. S. Gillespie believes that the elite of the Laguna de los Cerros partially controlled the basalt quarries and distribution of stones throughout the Olmec region. Parallel is in decline, Tres Zapotes that may be associated with the rise of the Laguna de los Cerros.

Las Limas, located in the extreme south Olman was investigated worse. Here was found a statue of a seated person of greenish stone (so-called “Ruler of the Las Limas). Studies H. Yadeun (1977-1978) and subsequent work H. Gomez Rued showed that this fort was the center of an important chiefdoms, uniting at least 27 settlements in the second and third rank.

Between 900 and 600 years. BC. e on the Gulf Coast there were at least five of complex chiefdoms – San Lorenzo, La Venta, Las Limas, Laguna de los Cerros and Tres Zapotes peripheral. Based on the regular distribution of San Lorenzo, La Venta, Laguna de los Cerros and Tres Zapotes (at an average distance of 50-60 km), T. Earl came to the conclusion that they controlled the entire Olman (about 12 000 sq. km.). It seems that the size of chiefdoms over time grew: San Lorenzo, probably subordinated such settlements second rank outside the valley proper Coatzacoalcos, as Estero Rabon, San Isidro and Santa Cruz del Milagro, La Venta – Arroyo Sons and Los Soldados.

The discovery of a fortified ditch and rampart settlements La Oaxacena between San Lorenzo and Las Limas shows that the relationship between the Olmec chiefdoms were not peaceful. On the political rivalry is the fact that La Venta, and San Lorenzo entered into various inter-regional political and economic networks. La Venta was in alliance with the chiefdom Central chiapas depression and received deposits of obsidian from San Martin Jilotepeque, and San Lorenzo was in alliance with the polity from the Pacific coast, used the obsidian from El Chayala. Images of severed human heads and arms at La Venta stelae suggests that the military function was one of the most important in Olmec leaders.

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