Thursday, May 20, 2010

Tomb May Link Zoque and Mayan Cultures

Pyramid containing the ancient tomb in Chiapa de Corzo.

Archaeologists are hoping the 2,700-year-old pyramid in Chiapa de Corzo in southern Mexico can help settle debate on origins of the mysterious Zoque civilization.

The pyramid tomb ~ see post below for more information ~ is a window into how two unique cultures emerged from the Olmec, one of the oldest civilizations in the New World. The Olmec fanned out from their Gulf of Mexico homeland around 1200 BC and influenced many later Mesoamerican civilizations.

In the centuries prior to the construction of the recently unearthed tomb, Chiapa de Corzo likely was a large village along a major trade route operated by the Olmec from their capital city, La Venta, on the Gulf Coast. As Chiapa de Corzo gained wealth and power it began to assert its own identity.

The newly discovered tomb ~ which includes Olmec and Zoque traits ~ suggests this transition was well underway by 700 BC. Emerging from the influence of the Olmec, the nascent Zoque culture at Chiapa de Corzo may have been influencing other cultures, including the Maya Empire.

Click here for the National Geographic article.

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