Maya and Aztec

Ancient Mesoamerican civilizations

La Venta

Category: Olmec

The second ritual center-city of the first level was the Olmecs of La Venta. The town was located a large architectural complex consisting of two churches and a few pyramidal platforms. Ancient settlers have chosen this place as early as 1400 BC, where they erected one of the oldest settlements. La Venta was built with the largest scale. And in 900 BC the city became an important center of another important chiefdoms with their colossal Olmec heads. There is a sharp rise of the power of La Venta. Perhaps this was due to another change in the riverbed of Bari. Since the turn of II-I millennium BC It ran about 2 km from Group “A” in La Venta, which gave the possibility to monitor communications and facilitates movement of resources. In the area of La Venta finally formed a three-tier settlement hierarchy: without mounds settlements – settlements with a central mounds – settlements with several mound. The population of the zone between the La Venta, and San Miguel (these sites share is about 40 km) is at least 10 000 people.

La Venta has reached a size of 2 km2. A distinctive feature was its monumental earthwork construction. Their construction began in the tenth century. BC Between 900 and 750 years. BC complexes have been built “A” and “C”. Central axis of the settlement was “the Great Pyramid” – rounded earthen mound in terms of height greater than 30 m. In the construction of the pyramid was not defined any stage: it seems that it was built as a one-time project in the ninth century. BC To the north of the pyramid is the courtyard formed by several long buildings (complex A). In this case, the earliest in Olman complex architectural ensemble – the so-called two-part complex, focused on north-south axis. Possibly as early as this time there was a tradition of creating complex mosaic of serpentine, which characterize the La Venta.

The following construction steps were accompanied by laying a mosaic of serpentine blocks (apparently, they were sanctifying sacrifice). After 600 BC in group “D” being built a new complex: a small pyramid, oriented to the long platform. These buildings are located under the east – west, and probably represent a new example of architectural tradition, which originates in Chiapas.

In middle formative time in La Venta a new type of monumental sculptures – stele, which is known to eight. Stela 1 depicts a woman in a complicated headdress, standing in a niche. On Stela 2 is a leader in rich attire with arms, surrounded by six human figures. Stela 3 – is the scene of the meeting of two noble characters, one of them in a lush corona, as Stela 2, and the second is depicted with a beard and “Roman” profile, apparently, representing an ethnically alien Olmecs type. On Stela 5 also shows several people: the governor, who is identified on the rich apparel and the wand in his hand, a warrior or player with a ball in the helmet in front of him and a character with superhuman features and network on the back. Hovers over the scene another weird party – apparently deified ancestor.

At the last stage (V in. BC) in “A” inside Mound A-2, constructed a rich burial. Tomb of “A” consisted of 44 basalt columns that form the chamber dimensions of 4 meters in length, 2 meters wide and 1.8 meters in height. In it were found the remains of two boys, covered in red paint, with dozens of objects from jade (anthropomorphic and zoomorphic figurines, pendants, beads), obsidian, magnetite, and an unusual necklace of six tail spikes slope, center of which was an artificial spike of jade. To the south of the Tomb A tomb was the “E” are made of basalt columns. Before it was found a carved stone sarcophagus (Tomb of the “B”), depicting a mythical beast with the features of jaguars and alligators. Inside the sarcophagus were found the bones, and only two of jade earrings with pendants in the form of jaguar fangs, a statue of serpentine rock and piercing.

The city also has immense basalt heads – 4, and can be attributed to the years 1000-900. BC

Chiefdoms La Venta is in decline around 400 BC

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