January 20, 2017

Monte Alba

For our last full day in Oaxaca, we visited the Monte Alba, a Mixte site that was founded in about 1,000 BC (BCE), and abandoned about 1,000 AD (CE). Our guide was a Mixte. he said you could tell the difference between Mixte and Zapotec because the Mixte were so much better looking.

There is a lot of speculation about what went on here, since it was abandoned so long ago.,

Here is a diorama of the site:

You'll see more of that later.

There are a number of tombs on the site, here is one you see as you walk from the entrance.

According to our guide, Juan the Communist, these trees supplied both the fabric that the Mixtecs wore, and the name of the mountain. (the white blossoms inspired the Spaniards to name the place Monte Alba)

The excavations have uncovered a huge site, with many small (well, not really that small) buildings that look like this:

It is a beautiful setting, in the Sierra Madre mountains.

We learned something from Juan the Communist on this tour. When archeological sites are reconstructed, they insert small pebbles in the mortar so that subsequent researchers can distinguish the original from the new. Clever.  One of my archaeologists friends confirmed this, and said it was a relatively new technique, but one that is rapidly gaining acceptance.

Much of this site has been reconstructed.

Below is the ball court. You may have heard stories about how the winners of games would be sacrificed, as victory was a sign of favor from god (the gods. I am not sure if they were monotheistic or not), and it was an honor to be sacrificed. J the C was not convinced of this, and neither were we.

It is hard to appreciate the scale of this place.

We liked the buildings that had some detail

and some writing.

I am not sure if these have been translated or interpreted.

Neat stuff

 You can see buildings that have been partially restored

and some that have not been restored at all

A view of the site looking north
 and looking south
 My lovely bride

 Me, for scale

 Doreen was very happy to be there

The stelle of the three women gods. Goddesses, I suppose you could call them

 It was fun to see the carved stones in the jumble.

 See where we are? (Above and below)

And here is where we were earlier.

The following two stones are called "The Dancers" (there are a couple more) but they are more likely enemy soldiers being castrated and eviscerated.

A communal tomb.

Goodbye buddy!