Smithsonian Olmec Legacy

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Carved wood reproduction of the colossal head of Hueyapan (Tres Zapotes Monument A) and other artifacts, in Estudio sobre la antiguedad y el origen de la cabeza colosal de tipo etiópico que existe en Hueyapan en el cantón de los Tuxtlas (1871), by José Melgar y Serrano

Carved wood reproduction of the colossal head of Hueyapan (Tres Zapotes Monument A) and other artifacts, in "Estudio sobre la antiguedad y el origen de la cabeza colosal de tipo etiópico que existe en Hueyapan en el cantón de los Tuxtlas" (1871), by José Melgar y Serrano

The 1939 Smithsonian Institution and National Geographic Society Archaeological Expedition was the first scientifically organized effort aimed at exploring an Olmec site. Although travelers and archaeologists in the 19th and early 20th century had described several unusual monuments and artifacts at that time, nothing was known about the culture or people who had produced these objects.

Click on any of the images to the right to read about early explorers and archaeologists reporting on Olmec monuments and artifacts.

The Tuxtla figurine, carved of jadeite diopside, bears columns of incised glyphs corresponding to 162 A.D. The statuette was found by a farmhand while plowing on an hacienda in Hueyapan in Veracruz. Figurine is wearing a duck bill mask. Incised glyphs decorate all sides of the figure which is clothed in a cape.
The Tuxtla figurine, carved of jadeite diopside, bears columns of incised glyphs corresponding to 162 A.D. The statuette was found by a farmhand while plowing on an hacienda in Hueyapan in Veracruz. Figurine is wearing a duck bill mask. Incised glyphs decorate all sides of the figure which is clothed in a cape.

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