Steve Quayle

Giant Articles & News

Is the Guatemalan Colossal Stone Head an Easter Island Refugee?

As a land made famous for its strange temples, monuments, carvings, and cultures, Guatemala is home to more unsolved mysteries than almost anywhere in the world.

With a tumultuous past, and a people ravaged by war, conquest, disease, and economic disaster, it is a place known for holding tightly to its secrets, demanding outsiders respect the history they seek to decipher.

Guatemala may in fact be the birthplace of Mesoamerican culture. Its earliest settlements date to as early as 18,000 BCE, as is evidenced by the finding of rare obsidian arrowheads throughout the country.

Those early Pre-Columbian peoples are thought to have been the first in the region to develop agrarian practices in South America, with evidence of the cultivation of maize along the Pacific Coast, and spreading in-land over the centuries.

In any event, the area we now know as Guatemala was once the center of the great Mayan Empire, and as such, much priceless archaeological bounty lies within its borders.

One of those indecipherable mysteries is the story of the Olmec Colossal Heads. The Olmec peoples, who got their start in southwest Mexico in about 1500 BCE, were the first builders of the Americas.

They were the pioneers of monumental construction, their culture gave rise to stone temples, pyramids, altars, statues, and they were the first to live in defined towns and cities. There is much we don’t know about who they were, but what we do know is pretty cool.

The Colossal heads are a collection of some 17 huge carved-stone (basalt) heads found throughout the jungles of central Guatemala. All known examples depict the same basic features: male faces with fleshy cheeks, flat noses, and slightly crossed eyes.

Those features are consistent with the facial structure of modern Olmec descendents, and it’s believed by most scholars that the heads — which were quarried from the Sierra de los Tuxlas Mountains of Veracruz, suggesting that they were moved a long distance at great effort — depict the faces of important leaders of early Olmec society.

In any event, the area we now know as Guatemala was once the center of the great Mayan Empire, and as such, much priceless archaeological bounty lies within its borders.

One of those indecipherable mysteries is the story of the Olmec Colossal Heads. The Olmec peoples, who got their start in southwest Mexico in about 1500 BCE, were the first builders of the Americas.

They were the pioneers of monumental construction, their culture gave rise to stone temples, pyramids, altars, statues, and they were the first to live in defined towns and cities. There is much we don’t know about who they were, but what we do know is pretty cool.

The Colossal heads are a collection of some 17 huge carved-stone (basalt) heads found throughout the jungles of central Guatemala. All known examples depict the same basic features: male faces with fleshy cheeks, flat noses, and slightly crossed eyes.

Those features are consistent with the facial structure of modern Olmec descendents, and it’s believed by most scholars that the heads — which were quarried from the Sierra de los Tuxlas Mountains of Veracruz, suggesting that they were moved a long distance at great effort — depict the faces of important leaders of early Olmec society.

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May 25, 2015

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