La Venta Museum Park – Olmecs
This article is about the La Venta Museum Park in Villahermosa. La Venta was one of the main ceremonial centers of the Olmecs who are believed to be the ancestors of the Mayan culture.
La Venta itself was located on an Island in a swampy area beside the river Tonalá near the Golf of México. Due to the construction of an oil refinery and an airport big parts of this historical site have been destroyed. The very impressing artifacts, that were found there have been moved to the La Venta Park Museum in Villahermosa.
Where everything began
The Olmecan culture could have begun in the pacific coast land of Guatemala, where at sites of the Monte Alto culture the oldest pottery of meso-america was found and dated to 1800BC.
Following this theory it must have moved North, along the coast line and finally crossing the continent at the Isthmus of Tehuantepec until it reached the Golf of México. But not only the knowledge of pottery technique followed this trail. It seems that technique of stone carving did so as well. Big Stone heads, as in La Venta and Mounds, made from earth and clay, were found in La Blanca, too.
Olmecs were swamp people
La Venta consisted of several pyramids, that were constructed as Mounds, build from clay. The high time of the La Venta culture started around 1200BC. The site was abandoned from 400 BC on. It is very famous the many monumental stone figures that have been found there. Four of them are gigantic stone heads.
The La Venta Museum Park is located in Villahermosa, the capital of Tabasco. Villahermosa is located in the middle between Cancun and Mexio City, ~1000km distance from both. It easy to get there, while a visit of Palenque. From Palenque it’s possible to get there with a regular bus in less than 2 hours.
The mexican Poet Carlos Pellicer Cámara initiated the foundation of this open-air Musuem. It is the only one in México so far and exists since 1952. 36 megalithic Stone structures have been transported from the La Venta archaeological site and have been erected here in the park in Villahermosa. The park museum is surrounded by a small zoo, with local animals.
Villahermosa itself is worth to visit. It’s a nice place to go out in the evening. To eat in one of the Restaurants or just do some sight-seeing.
In Spanish about the Parque Museo La Venta: http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parque_Museo_La_Venta
This site was the most informative I’ve found on the Olmec Museum,very helpful in planning my trip there.