Zazacatla, an Olmec-influenced city, unearthed near Xochitepec, Mexico

The AP is running a press release of an outstanding find from a site near the town of Xochitepec, Mexico. It is titled, “Olmec-Influenced City Found in Mexico.” Archaeologists have unearth a 2,500 year old city that once influenced heavily by the Olmec culture. Zazacatla, an Olmec-influenced city, unearthed near Xochitepec, MexicoThe site is about 200 miles away from the known Olmec boundary. The piece shares with us some of the importances of the site,

“The remains of Zazacatla are providing insight into the early arrival of advanced civilizations in central Mexico, while also providing lessons about the risks to ruins posed by modern development that now cover much of the ancient city.Archaeologist Giselle Canto said Wednesday that two statues and architectural details at the site, 25 miles south of Mexico City, indicate that the inhabitants of Zazacatla adopted Olmec styles when they changed from a simple, egalitarian society to a more complex, hierarchical one.

“When their society became stratified, the new rulers needed emblems … to justify their rule over people who used to be their equals,” Canto said of the inhabitants, who may not have been ethnically Olmec, but apparently revered the culture as the most prestigious.

Zazacatla covered less than one square mile between 800 B.C. and 500 B.C. But much of it has been covered by housing and commercial development extending from Cuernavaca, a city popular with tourists just seven miles north.”

Digging of Zazacatla started last year and so far archaeologists have unearthed six buildings, and two sculptures of what appear to be Olmec-style priests. The sculptures appear to have headdresses portraying the jaguar, which the Olmecs revered, and other symbols of status and authority. This site shows us how pervasive the Olmec culture was.

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