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Fascinating New Olmec find at Tak'alik Ab'aj, Guatemala

07.22.2009

 By Jeff Stivers.

Recent archaeological excavations of the National Project Tak'alik Ab'aj have produced a stream of discoveries of very important sculptures this year. The sculpture of the of Tak'alik Ab'aj is an unprecedented finding. The large four-side stele poses interesting questions for archaeologists as it straddles the murky transition between the Olmec and Maya.

This sculpture presents an imposing character, decorated with insignias of power with certain Olmec characteristics such as the sign U on the sash. Something very surprising is that this character is carrying a small human figure on his back. This small human figure has the position of his arms on his chest and hands folded down, and very straight legs, similar to those infants who are often found in the lap of the Olmec jade figures. These infant figures have been interpreted by some archaeologists as divine beings or ancestors. The quality of the volume and complete form of the sculpture conveys the formal concepts of Olmec art sculpture; however, this sculpture seems strange.

This story was originally published in The Guatemala Times. Please follow this link for more information (The Guatemala Times).