Sites & cities that bear the name of La Venta

La Venta

Today in : Mexico
First trace of activity : ca. 9th century B.C.E
Last trace of activity : ca. 4th century B.C.E

Description : La Venta is a pre-Columbian archaeological site of the Olmec civilization located in the present-day Mexican state of Tabasco. Some of the artifacts have been moved to the museum "Parque - Museo de La Venta", which is in nearby Villahermosa, the capital of Tabasco. “Because of extremely poor viewing conditions in the tropical rainforest, different parts of La Venta were discovered piecemeal, and it was decades before scholars realized that all the platforms and stone sculptures found in the vicinity were part of a single site, an ancient city that was occupied from 900-400 BCE.” Phases I- IV are dated based on radiocarbon dates from Complex A, with approximately one hundred years between each phase. Unfortunately, excavating Complex A led to the destruction of the original integrity of the site and has made it difficult to go back and re-verify the dates. This is why La Venta has a rather loose chronology that cannot be made any more definitive. Phase I—dated with five radiocarbon samples (from the stratigraphy at Complex A) that have the average age of 2770 ± 134 years old (814 BCE +/- 134 years) Phase II—dated with a single sample at 804 BCE Phase III—no radiocarbon dates Phase IV—no radiocarbon dates, from Post-Phase IV dates, Heizer and Drucker estimated the end of Phase IV somewhere between 450 and 325 BCE Post-Phase IV—two samples average 2265 years old (309 BCE) Conclusion: The La Venta site was used from (approximately) 800- 400 BCE, during the Formative Period. Complex A at the site was built and rebuilt during this period and this date range comes from carbon samples from construction fills. Rebecca Gonzalez Lauck asserts that the Olmec concentration at La Venta occurred from 1200 – 400 BCE and the overriding point seems to be that an exact chronology has proved to be elusive.

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