Sunday, 3 November 2013

Monte Albán

One thing we discovered about Mexico was that each site seemed even better than the last and this feeling persisted throughout the trip. If we thought Cholula was impressive, Monte Albán outclassed it. Inhabited over a period of 1,500 years by a succession of peoples – Olmecs, Zapotecs and Mixtec it has been extensively excavated.

It started off rather low key; these are the remains of some of the housing of the non elite.  So far interesting but not that impressive.

Many tombs have been discovered here - it was also common practice to bury the deceased under the floor of the houses above. This was taken in pitch dark with the flash and bent double so isn't very straight!
Then we got into the main plaza and some very big constructions indeed.

The monumental centre of Monte Albán is the Main Plaza, which measures approximately 300 metres by 200. A series of platforms housed the main ceremonial, civic and high status housing.

Neatly arranged along the wall we found a series of carved stone monuments in the Olmec style.

Originally they were considered to be Danzantes or "dancers" but this is now discredited. These are reproductions with the originals being safely preserved in the on-site museum.

Here's one of them. The latest interpretation is that they are in fact early medical textbooks intended to record and teach. Some of the tablets show the process of birth and even an early cesarean section - whether the mother would have survived the process seems remote.

This was taken looking down on to the plaza from the highest platform. You also get a sense of how high up in the hills the whole site is.

The importance of some of the residents here was underlined by this private altar; normally these would have been in public areas but at Monte Alban there were both.
Looking at the site everything looks very neat and tidy ( there were workman manicuring the grass as we visited) but a few of the platforms have not had the same restoration - this one gives a good idea of what they would have looked like before being cleared and cleaned up.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...