April 24, 2013

"In Monte Alto near La Democracia, Escuintla, giant stone heads and potbellies (or barrigones) have been found..."

"... dating back to around 1800 BC. The stone heads have been ascribed to the Pre-Olmec Monte Alto Culture and some scholars suggest the Olmec Culture originated in the Monte Alto area. It has also been argued the only connection between the statues and the later Olmec heads is their size. The Monte Alto Culture may have been the first complex culture of Mesoamerica, and predecessor of all other cultures of the region. In Guatemala, there are some sites with unmistakable Olmec style, such as Chocolá in Suchitepéquez, La Corona, in Peten, and Tak'alik A´baj, in Retalhuleu, the last of which is the only ancient city in the Americas with Olmec and Mayan features."

In Guatemala, today's "History of" country.

11 comments:

edutcher said...

Having been to Chichen Itza, I'd love to go see Tikal some day.

Mr. D said...

I was a high school exchange student in Guatemala in the summer of 1979, right as Somoza was falling in Nicaragua. It was an interesting experience. As it became clear that Somoza's days were numbered, you started to see a bunch of Mercedes-Benzes with Nicaraguan license plates driving through Guatemala City and a lot of very short soldiers with big guns all over town. Quite the eye-opener for a 15-year old kid from Appleton.

It's a beautiful country, but at least in 1979 it was a horribly corrupt place.

ironrailsironweights said...

Snow is a regular occurrence only on the 4,220-meter summit of Volcan Tajmulco. On rare occasions it has fallen as low as 3,700 meters. Just this past January snow was recorded in the village of Ixchiguan at 3,200 meters. The most exceptional snowfall was in 1881, when measurable snow fell on the city of Quetzaltenango at only 2,200 meters.

Peter

Æthelflæd said...

Olmec stone heads are fun. Their features very often look African or Chinese, giving rise to all sorts of interesting theories over the years.

traditionalguy said...

The place is on the boundary of the Caribbean and North American tectonic plates giving it 27 volcanoes(4 still active).

The history says 300 Spanish soldiers defeated 72,000 of one tribe in a battle, and then next defeated another tribe and then another.

So being the ones without the guns can be a terrible way to live for a short time.

Terry said...

find an egg-shaped boulder. Cut straight lines. Instant face! Our ancestors were geniuses!

modgudur said...

Yes, we should revere our ancestors and not treat them like third-class citizens. What secrets they could tell us. One such ancestor cannot share his wisdom because such findings of facts (from a recent court hearing) are convoluted and contradictory which prevent care from one that CARES for this old man. I have great examples of this "system" where a local judge is abusing his power of position to marginalize an elderly man in a nursing home. A court appointed female lawyer telling this court the lies the court wants to hear to keep this 93 year old in sub-standard care albeit still within the "letter of the law" This is a "cover-up" in the Grand good ole boy system of lawyers and judges, starting at the top with the Governor of Minnesota.

Shanna said...

I like that.

There used to be some really cool statues in DC, they were being hosted by the smithsonian for a short period of time. Originally from Columbia maybe? We called them the fat statues.

Mitch H. said...

The history says 300 Spanish soldiers defeated 72,000 of one tribe in a battle, and then next defeated another tribe and then another.

It also says that Alvarado was allied at the time with the local opponents of the nation that fielded those 72,000 warriors, much like his model, Cortez. The usual conquistador strategy was to find the biggest loser in the local political ecology, and support their rebellion against the big badass. The locals provide the ax-fodder, while your own men fire away unmolested until the gunpowder runs out, then break out the swords and lances. Anyways, big honking numbers like that are usually a sign that there's a Livy in the woodpile, making up shit because it sounds impressive. In the real world, pre-modern armies don't ever get that big, they can't feed themselves.

Wow, there's a big hole torn in that "history of". A sketchy coverage of the conquest and the pre-conquest cultures, then two paragraphs on post-Spanish rule (nothing on the rule itself, mind you) and the bulk of the article on the last seventy years. Smells faintly of viewpoint bias, too.

Jeff Teal said...

Always remember that the Spanish firearms of the period were matchlock arquebusses-which have a reload time of better than a minute between shots.The cannon fire would have effective though.Butnsteel cuirasses and swords would have verra effective against cotton and stick armor and obsidian edged clubs.

Jeff Teal said...

My own readings on Post Conquest governance and administrations finds similar gaps throughout most of the Spanish areas of influence. It is instructive to compare the different national models of colonial administration and the different economies this resulted in.Leads to some startling reasons for the weak governments and strong upper classes in Spanish speaking colonies.