6. Describe the city of La Venta- when was it inhabited, and what all was there? What did their pyramids symbolize?
What aspects of this city will carry on in later cities in Mesoamerica and north America?What aspects here will carry on in later cities?
La Venta thrived from about 900 to 400 BCE built on high ground between rivers. Its most prominent feature, an earth mound known as the Great Pyramid, still rises to a height of over 100 feet. The pyramid stands at the south end of a large, open plaza arranged on a north-south axis and defined by long, low earth mounds. Many of the physical features of La Venta, including the symmetrical arrangement of earth mounds, platforms, and central open spaces along an axis that was probably determined by astronomical observations. These are characteristic of later monumental and ceremonial architecture throughout Mesoamerica. Buried underneath the surface were massive stone mosaics, layered of colored clay, and greenstone figures. La Venta, a small island in the coastal wetlands of the Gulf of Mexico, had a rich array of agricultural and marine resources upon which to build a civilization. Recent excavations have established that small villages in the immediate area were growing maize as early as 1750 B.C., but the site reached its maximum size and importance from 1000 to 500 B.C. It was apparently abandoned by 400 B.C. First explored in 1925, La Venta has provided some of the most important archaeological finds from ancient Mesoamerica. In addition to one of the earliest known pyramidal structures—the Great Pyramid—the site's inventory features seventy-seven carved stone monuments, including four colossal heads; four multi-ton greenstone offerings and three mosaic pavements of serpentine blocks; a tomb of basalt columns; and numerous small jade figures and ornaments. Excavations in the 1980s established the site's truly ancient past and provided the first accurate map. Their pyramids are political and religious symbols: platform for the king’s palace and temples, symbol of social hierarchy, and an imitation of moutains, source of rains. Many of the physical features of La Venta, like the symmetrical arrangement of earth mounds, platforms, and central open spaces along an axis that was probably determined by astronomical observations. Their ballgames ritual ball game were played by the Mayans and north Americans like Anasazi.