La Venta Archaeological Zone


Though most monuments from La Venta are at Villahermosa’s Parque-Museo La Venta, this ancient Olmec ceremonial site still fascinates as the largest and most important ‘capital’ of Mexico’s mother culture. La Venta flourished between about 800 and 400 BC on a natural plateau rising about 20m above an area of fertile, seasonally flooded lowlands. Matthew Stirling is credited with discovering, in the early 1940s, four huge Olmec heads sculpted from basalt, the largest more than 2m high.

The museum at the site entrance holds three badly weathered Olmec heads, plus replicas of some of the finest sculptures that are no longer here. The heart of the site is the 30m-high Edificio C-1, a rounded pyramid constructed out of clay and sand. Ceremonial areas and more structures stretch to the north and south.