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La Venta Jun 15

La Venta is the main archaeological site of the Olmec culture, that had its apogee between 900 b. C. 400 b. C. and it is estimated that the site had a population of at least 1,800 people. It is situated on an island in the middle of the swampy region that forms the Tonala River, which forms the border between Tabasco and Veracruz. The surface of the island is just 5.2 km². In the center of the island, the buildings form a square with a pyramid located in the main center, surrounded by mounds and monuments. The most important structure of this site is a pyramid built of mud, has a height of 31 meters. The recent excavations show that the Pyramid was staggered.

Similar to the last cities built by the Maya or Aztecs, there was little stone in the region and therefore all the buildings were built of earth or clay. The great pyramid built of clay, is one of the earliest known pyramids in Mesoamerica. The conical shape of the pyramid is present to represent the nearby mountains or volcanoes, studies have shown that the pyramid was made of a rectangular pyramid on the sides and its present form is due to the 2500 years of erosion. The site also includes several altars of basalt, the most known is the one which represents a person, probably a shaman dressed in elaborate clothes and laying in what looks like a cave. The left side is eroded, but it is believed was similar to the right.

In its apogee, La Venta was a ceremonial center that contained a series of offerings buried in tombs and also monumental sculptures. Among the findings associated with the architecture, they were found five massive offerings, unique in the prehistoric world, and more than 30 offerings with nearly 3 thousand objects carved in stone and other materials such as jewelry, chisels and axes, among others. Also there are many monuments carved in basalt. Perhaps the most intriguing are the colossal heads that were discovered, 17 in total and four of them in La Venta. It is thought that the heads were carved in 700 b. C., but possibly originating from 850 b. C.

La Venta Park-Museum is the only eco-archaeological park of America, displays a collection of authentic pieces, the monumental colossal heads, altars and buildings of the Olmec culture, scattered among the vegetation and litter, and some animals that walk release, as deer, badgers and monkeys although there are also jaguars and crocodiles in captivity. The park also offers to tourists a spectacular light and sound.

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