09th August 2011

Moving east towards the Gulf of Mexico, we stopped in Xalapa (or Jalapa) [18] the hillside capital of Veracruz State. On a clear day, Mexico´s tallest peak, snow capped Pico de Orizaba (5611 metres) can be seen from the central park.


We spent 4 hours in the excellent anthropology museum, moving through time in Vera Cruz from the original civilization, the Olmecs (1500 BC to 400 BC), through the Totonacs to the Aztecs in the years preceding Spanish conquest. The Olmecs, called the “Mother Culture”, are attributed with the erection of stelae, the jaguar cult and initiating the ball game. We were enthralled with the massive basalt Olmec heads, Totonac life sized raw clay figures, tiny toys with wheels and the 29000 other pieces.


Pico de Orizaba (5611 metres) south of Xalapa

Pots of food bubbling away in La Fonda restaurant kitchen

Large Olmec head in the Anthropology Museum

Massive stone Olmec head

Stone masks

Greenstone Señor de las Limas with infant in his arms

Elongated heads and Asian features

God of Fire warms his hands over a brazier

Vessels with faces

Part of a mural from the Las Higueras site

Decorated plates

Two figures on a swing

Clay figures

Figure with articulated arms, made in a mould

These toys show pre-Hispanic people knew of the wheel

Decapitated ball player spurts snakes

Large clay figures


Life size clay statue of a woman who died in childbirth

Detailed clay figures


Cross legged clay figure

Cross eyed male figure with trunk

Statue of a female figure from northern Vera Cruz State

Decorative vessels

Summer school - kids fitting together shards of ancient pottery