La Venta, Tabasco: a Study of Olmec Ceramics and Art

By Philip Drucker | Go to book overview

STRUCTURAL INVESTIGATIONS IN 1943

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By WALDO R. WEDEL

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The excavations at La Venta in 1943 were carried on principally in that section of the site lying just north of the Great Mound, in what has been designated Complex A (see sketch map, fig. 14). As Drucker has pointed out, most of the archeological features here appeared to be definitely oriented along a line bisecting the summit of the Great Mound and running northward through the Ceremonial Court and across Mound A-2. Since a general description of the site, including the portion under consideration here, has already been presented, further remarks need be added at this point only in amplification of certain surface features very briefly noted by Drucker. These were clearly seen only after the rank jungle growth between the base of the Great Mound and the Ceremonial Court was entirely removed in preparation for our investigations.

Lying on the north-south axis of the site and centering at a point some 32 m. south of the Ceremonial Court was a low inconspicuous mound from 1.5 to 2.5 m. high--depending on the angle from which it was viewed--by some 30 m. in diameter. This feature was designated Mound A-3; further details concerning it and its contents are presented elsewhere in the present section.

Mound A-3 was flanked on the east and west by two low linear embankments. These averaged approximately 15 to 18 m. in width, and were perhaps 1 m. high at their north ends; to the south, they merged into the basal platform of the Great Mound. On the north, they approached within 10 or 12 m. of the southeast and southwest corners of the Ceremonial Court, from which they were separated, as from Mound A-3, by shallow swales. The north-south midline of each of these structures, projected northward, coincided approximately with the rows of upright basalt columns marking the east and west sides of the Ceremonial Court. An unworked basalt boulder lay at the north end of the west embankment; otherwise, there was no surface evidence of monuments or other stonework that might once have been in any way associated with either. The results of a test trench dug by us through the north end of the east embankment, A-4, are set forth elsewhere in this section.

-34-

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La Venta, Tabasco: a Study of Olmec Ceramics and Art
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Letter of Transmittal ii
  • Contents iii
  • Illustrations v
  • Foreword ix
  • Introduction 1
  • Part I: Excavations and Artifacts 4
  • Structural Investigations in 1943 34
  • The Ceramics of La Venta 80
  • Part II: the Sculptor's Art 152
  • The Stone Monuments 173
  • Stylistic Characters of the Sculptures 185
  • Summary 204
  • Appendix - Technological Analyses 234
  • Bibliography 241
  • Index 249
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