Photographer's Note

Colossal Olmec Head

Museum of Anthropology, Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico

Museo de Antropologia de Xalapa

If you are interested in Archeology, you won’t want to miss the Museum, considered one of the finest in the world. Its stunning contemporary architecture and its remarkable collection of artfacts, representative of the Olmec, Totonac and Huastec cultures.

There are nearly 200 of the famous so called Colossal Heads which have been discovered. Most have been found around the cultural centers of Olmec society, San Lorenzo, La Venta, and Tres Zapotes. It is speculated that the large stone sculptures were made to represent and glorify different rulers, both in life and in death. The first of these heads was "rediscovered" in the 1862, but it was not until the 1940s that archeologists first began to discover anything about the existence of the Olmec civilization itself. The heads themselves are up to 10 feet tall, weigh several tons, and were transported up to 50 miles from the original stone quarries. The faces are quite distinctive with very round and thick facial features.

The Olmecs lived in what is now South-Central Mexico along the Southern Gulf Coast. They came into power around 1000 BC and were there for about 900 years They vanished leaving behind only artifacts such as large heads carved from stone. No one knows why they disappeared.
The Olmec were farmers but built large cities of stone. Their cities were religious centers with temples, and places to live for the priests, artists, and builders. People came into the cities to trade and for celebrations. For recreation they played a ball game where heavy rubber ball was knocked around with two teams trying to score "goals", no hand or foot contact allowed.

They developed hieroglyphic writing, accurate calendar, stone pyramids even the courts created for ball games; were all were traditions carried on by other cultures such as the Maya and Aztec. The Olmecs influenced other people in the area and sometimes are called the "mother culture".

Original photo was taken with a film camera and converted into a digital image... desaturated, minor adjustments contrast/level in PS...

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Additional Photos by Joseph Farace (jmfarace) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 80 W: 45 N: 78] (342)
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