This sculpted head, now in the Anthropology Museum of Xalapa, came from the village where the Olmecs built their first settlements. One of three villages with Olmec sites, San Lorenzo Tenochtitlan was home to the Olmecs from 1200 BC to 900BC.
The Olmec builders incorporated stone drainage or water conduits constructed from basalt and also erected massive sculptured heads of basalt weighing as much as 20 tons each. They hauled these stones 50 miles from the distant volcano of the Tuxtla mountains near present-day Catemaco.
At another site, Tres Zapotes, archaeologists discovered the first Olmec head. During a 1939 excavation archaeologist Mathew Sterling discovered a stelae bearing a long count date of 32 BC.
San Lorenzo was first excavated by Archaeologist Mathew Stirling in 1941. The site was later investigated by Michael Coe and Richard Diehl. In 1967 the site was mapped by the Coe expedition. Their work shows artificial enlargement of plateaus to 150 feet in height on which the Olmecs built their settlement
An extensive system of basalt tiles, some of which are in the small museum at the site, show engineering prowess by the inhabitants of the Olmec city and have been proposed as potable water carrying aqueducts.
San Lorenzo Tenochtitlan, Olmec Ruin Site Veracruz, Mexico
Colossal head # 10 pictured above was sculpted from a 20- ton block of basalt brought 60 miles from the Tuxtla Mountains. This sculpture is at the entrance of the museum at San Lorenzo Tenochtitlan, Veracruz State, Mexico. The Olmec settlement was active from 1200 BC to 900 BC on the Coatzacoalcos River drainage system. First excavated by Archaeologist Mathew Stirling in 1941 and later by Archaeologists Michael Coe and Richard Diehl in 1967,
At San Lorenzo, excavators found ten Colossal heads sculpted from blocks of basalt that had been hauled 60 miles from the Tuxtla mountains to the site which at the time was an Island in the Coatzacoalcos River. Head # 1 of 17 so far found and numbered in the order of discovery is at the Museum of Anthropology in Jalapa, the capitol of Veracruz State.
Unusual black stones with holes that could be fishing net weights have puzzled researcher and visitor alike. One theory proposed is that they are iron ore devices used to generate sound. The smooth sides of the stones gives the appearance that they were likely used for weights to sink fishing nets into the river.
Archaeological features at the village of San Lorenzo are not evident but the museum is worth the visit for devotees of the Olmec.
San Lorenzo was once the early home of the Olmec culture
Ten stone heads were found at San Lorenzo, a signature of the Olmec culture noted for the creation of large sculptured stone heads .
The head at right is at the entrance to the musem in the village where in 1200 BC, the Olmecs built their first settlements.
San Lorenzo was a flourishing Olmec settlement from 1200 BC to 900BC.
Olmec sculpted head at the entrance to the small museum at San Lorenzo Tenochtitlan
Olmec sculpture on display at the small museum at San Lorenzo Tenochtitlan, the early home of the Olmec culture
Reaching San Lorenzo and the Olmec Homeland:
Bus out of Mexico City Tapo or Norte for Veracruz. From Veracruz head to Coatzacoalcos or Minatitlan south east of Catemaco. Then head by local bus to Acayucan where you get a collective taxi for the ten miles to the small farming village of San Lorenzo. (San Lorenzo Tenochtitlan. Just Tenochtitlan on some maps)
From Oaxaca , ADO first Class bus to Coatzacoalcos or Minatitlan bus to Acayucan, taxi to San Lorenzo.
Have lots of small change for taxis and water. (5 and 10 peso, 20 peso max.) Cash is scarce in remote areas of Mexico
The metate used to grind corn, probably for the makiing of tortillas
San Lorenzo Tenochtitlan, Olmec Ruin Site Veracruz, Mexico was a flourishing Olmec settlement from 1200 BC to 900BC. San Lorenzo was built on a complex of artificial plateaus that reached 150 feet in height according to Archaeologist Michael Coe.
San Lorenzo Tenochtitlan Museum