Pillars of the Classic Maya: Palenque to Copan

Maya Exploration Center Tour, November 17-26, 2017

OLMEC STONE HEAD — Tour Group in La Venta Park, Villahermosa Mexico

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Villahermosa, Mexico

Nov 17, Friday: Regional Archaeological Museum

Museum sidewalk exhibits

Michael and sidewalk “Day of the Dead” exhibits in front of the Museum

This is a photographic journal of the Maya Exploration Center (MEC) tour of the most famous of the Classic Maya archaeological sites in Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras. Our tour Museumwas guided by Dr. Heather Teague of the MEC and included nine of us: three couples, a solo Canadian, and my step-son Michael and me.

Michael and my photographs on the following pages are a sampling of the tour that we hope will serve to encourage anyone interested in Mayan history to consider undertaking an adventure into the heartland of the Classic Maya civilization.  Maya headMichael and I returned from our MEC adventures with the ancient Maya firm in the belief that it is an experience not to be missed.Maya house model

Michael and I flew into Villahermosa a day before the tour which gave us an opportunity to visit the local archaeological museum a short distance from our hotel.  We spent a good part of the day here.


Michael meets the Olmec

Michael meets the Olmec

The Olmec (rubber people) “were the first Mesoamerican civilization, and laid many of the foundations for the civilizations that followed. Among other “firsts”, the Olmec appeared to practice ritual bloodletting and played the Mesoamerican ballgame, hallmarks of nearly all subsequent Mesoamerican societies. The aspect of the Olmecs most familiar now is their artwork, particularly the aptly named “colossal heads”.” [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olmec]

Nov 18, Saturday: La Venta Park

La Venta Park and its museum feature a number of impressive artifacts removed from the major Olmec archaeological site of La Venta after much of the site was threatened by commercial development.

La Venta Park

Tour Leader, Dr. Heather Teague, points out details on a La Venta Park sculpture

Olmec altar

Olmec altar with an individual emerging from a cave. A Jaguar face can be seen on the rim above.

Olmec altar

Altar A shows another individual emerging from a cave holding a child. The facing profile shows two individuals with characteristic Olmec “almost jaguar” babies in arms.

La Venta Park

An example of one of several Olmec colossal heads relocated to the La Venta Park in Vliiahermosa. These representations of human heads are thought to be portraits of individual Olmec rulers are carved from basalt and can weight as much as 40 to 50 tons.