Tag Archives: Olmec

Explore the Mesoamerican Ball Game: Online and Interactive

589px-Maya_Vase_BallplayerKuddos to my student Matthew who sent me this website. We are on the Mesoamerican section right now in my history course. The ballgame was an integral and pervasive activity throughout Ancient Mesoamerica. It is in their history, religion, and art. It was one of the most socially and ritually important activities in the Ancient Americas.

The website “The Mesoamerican Ballgame” explores the history and significance of the ballgame throughout history. You can explore an interactive timeline, study its history among various cultures, and even see vide of the game being played today! It also includes lesson plans and activities for students of all grade levels.

The website was developed by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Mint Museum of Art.

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Traces of Chocolate Found at 2,500 Year old Mexican Site

Archaeologists working at Paso del Macho in Veracruz, Mexico have uncovered traces of chocolate on serving vessels at a site dating to 500 BCE. While not the oldest example of chocolate found in the archaeological record, it affirms theories that the Ancient Americans used chocolate as a spice or a dipping paste.

“I think their inference that cacao was being used in a sauce is likely correct, though I can imagine other possibilities [such as an ] addition to a beverage (cacao-based or other) as a condiment or garnish.”John S. Henderson, Cornell University

To learn more about this exciting find, see the article in The Telegraph and Time Magazine.

“Triad of Felines” Monoliths Uncovered in Mexico

Recent excavations South of Mexico City in Chalcatzingo (a region known to have been connected with the Olmec culture) has uncovered a monolith, dating to approximately 700 BCE, depicting three feline figures (likely jaguars or mountain lions).

Triad Cat Monolith copyright National Geographic

After several months of piecing together the piece, archaeologists have revealed the completed work to the public. Its purpose is still unknown, but professionals assert that it had a type of ritualistic significance and may have served as a type of ‘religious bilboard’ scattered across the landscape.

“One of our hypotheses is that, in the time from 800 to 500 B.C., there was a frieze along the entire Cerro Chalcatzingo,” or “Chalcatzingo hill,” project member Mario Cordova Tello, an archaeologist with Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), said in a statement.

The find will be instrumental in determining the relationship between the Olmec and the Native inhabitants of Chalcatzingo. Read more about the find in this National Geographic Article.