The Colossal Heads of Mexico
Map of the Olmec heartland
Scattered by various regions of Mexico, there are 17 giant heads that we know very little about, apart from having been made by the Olmec, a people who lived between 1500 and 400 BC in that region. They are the oldest known monuments in Prehispanic Mexico.
These giant sculptures were carved from single blocks and massive basalt. The basalt used to make most of the monuments came from the area of the Tuxtlas mountains. A large unfinished altar that was discovered in those mountains showed that the sculptures were given their first shapes at the quarry site, and then transported to the places where they were finished.
It is not known exactly how this transportation was done, but some must have been transported by the river and swept away by large distances. This only could be made by a people with a strong government since it is estimated that to drag each one it was needed about 1500 people.
The heads have common characteristics as flat nose, thick lips and flat faces. For some, these characteristics lead to think of the physiognomy of the African people which proved the African origin of the Olmecs, but there are also some characteristics of Asian people. Scholars of pre-Columbian culture deny, however, their African origin.
Other aspect of the heads is the fact that all have what appears to be a helmet and there are some of them that were carved more than once. It is thought today that they represent chiefs, but it's not known why at least two, have been cut more than once. It may have been due to rituals or lack of stone, which would oblige to change the faces when a chief was replaced.
Colossal HeadsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Carrying the stones - Stonehenge example
How did they manage to carry the sculptures?
Other Giant Head Sites
- Argentinean Stone-Head | occupy illuminati
This recently discovered stone-head was found in the waters of Lake Traful, in Patagonia, Argentina. The Lake is the starting point of the Traful River that empties into the Nahuel Huapi Lake. At Present nothing more is known about it.
- Monte Alto culture - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Monte Alto is an archaeological site on the Pacific Coast in what is now Guatemala.
- Moai - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Moai or Mo‘ai, are monolithic human figures carved by the Rapa Nui people on Easter Island in eastern Polynesia between the years 1250 and 1500 CE
Links about the colossal heads
- Olmec - Study Guide to the Olmec
A study guide to the Olmec civilization, including timelines, important sites, important facts, subsistence and settlement, burning issues, and a bibliography
- The Colossal Heads of the southern gulf-coast region of Mexico
- Colossal Heads
- Colossal Head from San Lorenzo
- Olmec Heads
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