La Venta

La Venta is an archaeological site in Mexico. It was a ceremonial center of the Olmecs.

  • 2.1 A complex
  • 2.2 Complex B
  • 2.3 Complex C

Local regulations


La Venta is the eponymous archaeological site of La Venta culture, such as the Olmec culture is also called. It grew out of an agricultural culture, the beginnings of which approximately from 1500 BC are detectable. Although the urban Olmekenkultur their initial focus was in San Lorenzo Tenochtitlán and La Venta in settlement layers are present as early as 1200 BC, La Venta reached its true significance only with the decline of San Lorenzo around 900 BC The heyday of La Ventas is 800 to be set to 400 BC.

The site is largely destroyed by the plant of an oil refinery and a (now discontinued ) airfield, as well as through a settlement.


La Venta is located on a small hill in a marsh and river landscape of Tonala in the heartland of Olmekenkultur that stretched on a 200 -kilometer long and 80 kilometer wide strip along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico in what is now the Mexican states of Tabasco and Veracruz. La Venta itself is about 16 kilometers away from the coast and probably controlled the region between Rio and Rio Coatzacoalcos Mezcalapa. The built-up area covers about 2 square kilometers and is aligned along a line which is inclined eight degrees northwest. Not far is San Andres, which was apparently associated 2500 years ago as a residential settlement with La Venta. Laguna de los Cerros, and Tres Zapotes are other important sites in the region that provided the basis of our knowledge of the first known today, elaborate culture of Mesoamerica.


La Venta is divided into several building complexes. The most important are A, B and C. Unlike the later buildings of the Maya was the architecture of La Ventas not made ​​of solid stone, which hardly ever occurs in the area, but from earth and clay. The basalt stones that were brought from the Sierra de los Tuxtlas, were used almost exclusively for " altars ", stelae and colossal statues. So come the basalt columns that surround the complex A, from quarries at Punta Roca Partida near the San Andres Tuxtla volcano. Typical of the Olmec culture is also the coloring of the inhabited area by colored strata. In La Venta as red, green, blue, white, pink and purple.

Complex A

In the northern part of the archaeological site complex is A. Surrounded by basalt columns are squares and embankments, who recovered a lot of buried objects. Mention may be made Votivmasken, Figurines, Zeremonialäxte and massive blocks of jadeite and serpentine. Also at the complex A includes three rectangular mosaics of up to 485 Serpentitsteinen. Each has nearly 20 meters on a side. The mosaics were interpreted as an abstract representation of a jaguar mask people, but also as an Olmec Dragon, as Cosmogram or as a stylized map of La Ventas .. The mosaics were obviously not the consideration paid, because they were covered shortly after its completion with multi colored layers of earth. They were found in eight feet of water. Also at the complex A consists of five graves that are tightly integrated into the overall architecture, which Diehl suggested that the entire complex A has served the burial and commemoration of important rulers.

Complex B

South of the Great Pyramid (complex C) is complex as it comprises elongated mounds of earth and a place of about 350 to 80 meters. Maybe he was larger gatherings. The largest embankment located on the eastern edge of the complex. In honor of Matthew Stirling, an archaeologist of the locality systematically investigated in the 1940s, it is called Stirling Acropolis.

Complex C

Complex C contains one of the earliest known pyramids of Central America. She was 33 meters high and contained a volume of 100,000 cubic meters, which was filled with soil. The current conical shape of the pyramid was first remember that it could have acted as a representation of a volcano, it could be shown, however, that the pyramid had originally stepped sides and the present cone shape is a result of erosion. The pyramid itself has not been excavated to date. Magnetographic studies have provided at its southern edge, a striking finding, which could indicate further offerings or a grave.

The artifacts found at La Venta are now on display for the most part in the archaeological museum of Villahermosa ( Parque -Museo de La Venta ).