Boca de Tomatlan, Mexico
March 8, 2005
We followed him back through the parking lot to a small cleared area with some old foundations. Everything was covered with wildflowers. From here, we followed a path up the hill to see some altars and carved stelea. We followed the winding path while our guide pointed out and explained things to us. He also recited, very thoroughly, the history of the site. After wandering around in the hills, we headed down into a flat area where the main structures are found. There were a few pyramids and a ball court. There were many sculptures surrounding the pyramids. Abaj Takalik is known for the diversity of its sculptures, falling into four categories: Olmec-style, Maya-style, Barrigòn (potbellied)-style, and local-style. On this site, the transition from the Olmec culture to the Mayan culture can be seen. Archaeologists are hoping many important questions will be answered from further investigations at Abaj Takalik.
The grounds are beautiful, with towering trees, on a green and lush lawn, and with flowering bushes scattered around. The guide then took us to see the animals. All the animals are local endangered animals rescued from bad homes or injured in the wild. They look healthy but live in small enclosures. From here we headed back to the car. Our guide was great. I don’t know if all are. They are volunteers and live from their tips.
A Short History
Abaj Takalik was occupied from about 800 BC to 1524 AD. Building started during the Mid Pre-Classic period (800-300 BC). This is when the Olmec heads appeared and ball courts were made. The are signs of extensive trading during this period.
During the Late Pre-Classic period (300BC-250 AD), Mayan-style architecture appeared. The buildings became larger and fancier.
During the Early Classic period (250-600 AD), something happened. Building and sculpting stopped. Trade no longer flourished and there are signs of confrontations with neighboring cities.
During the Late Classic period (600-900), the destroyed monuments were rebuilt, but the city never became important again.
Abaj Takalik (standing stones) sits on five privately owned coffee plantations. Josè Luis Ralda Gonzalez donated the land, now open to the public, to the state. The site is still used for religious ceremonies.
From journal Earth Signs