• Lynn Lundstrom Belles

Izapa Archaeological Site


Izapa archaeological site

Izapa, Group F


This place was way up at the top of the list of the coolest places we’ve ever been!  Very easy to see from a Panama Canal Cruise –  that stops at Puerto Chiapas!  If you are brave enough to hire your own taxi you will get into areas A and B where the tours don’t go!  WE DID – it was Awesome!  Call Lynn or Rob at 607-GET-AWAY to shop for your’s!

The Izapa Archaeological Site is a very large pre-Columbian city located in the Mexican state of Chiapas.  The site is situated on the Izapa River, near the base of the Tacaná volcano. Starting around 1500 BC, IIzapa, originally inhabited by Mize-zoque, grew from a small village into the region’s most influential cultural and commercial centers.  From from 60 BC to AD 100 it was the home to about 10,000 people.  At its peak, Izapa had over 160 buildings including pyramids and platforms up to 60 feet high, and covered over 2 square miles.  We hired a cab driver for the day so we could see not only Group F (what the tours visit) but also Groups A and B (accessed thru private property).

Once foremost in the region for the production of highly valued cacao, Izapa brought together many of Mesoamerica’s ancient cultures. Many Mayanologists consider it the place where the 260-day Sacred Calendar and the 5,125-year Long Count Calendar were devised, and some think the haab, or 365-day Solar Calendar, was also developed here — making Izapa one of the most important sites of ancient Mesoamerica. Due to the abundance of carved Maya stelae and monuments at Izapa, the term “Izapa style” is used to describe similarly executed works throughout the Pacific foothills


izapa archaeological site

Local’s at the ballcourtI


The Izapa Archaeological Site was originally an Olmec city, but gradually became a Mayan city where the calendars and esoteric spiritual secrets were developed and taught. The Mayan teaching took place at Groups A and B, where rectangular stelae record various legends.  There are 252 stone monuments, most of them are sculpted and 89 are stelae carved with religious scenes.  The various stelae narrate some of the myths collected in the Popol Vuh.  Unfortunately most of the stelae are rather smooth and difficult to read.  In addition the roofs built to protect them make it quite difficult to photograph – you really just need to Get-Away and visit the site!

The following data matches photos above – maybe you can find these things in the stone sculptures!

Stela 1 describes a water deity with a prominent jaw and long lips characteristic of Chaak, the rain god in classic Mayan art, capturing fish.

Stela 2 illustrates a scene in the Mayan legend of the origin of Popol Vuh, according to which the twin heroes beat a false macaw god, causing it to lose its bejeweled eyes, its beak, and its teeth. Discouraged by its loss, the macaw god died. According to the Popol Vuh, Zipacna, the son of Macaw Seven, killed four hundred family members of the twin heroes, which led them to deceive the great crocodile to crawl under the Meauan Mountains and turn into stone.

Stela 5 depicts the world tree and other elements of the Mesoamerican creation myth.

Tree of Life, which displays a supreme entity constructing the Universe and its relationship with the earth, fire, and water. This stela is on display at the Archaeological Museum of Soconusco, located at Tapachula.

Stela 11 shows an interest in the Milky Way, the dark-rift in the Milky Way (the mouth is the dark-rift), and the Big Dipper.

There are also several gnomons at one of these groups, and unexcavated pyramids as well.

Mound 30A, located in group B, which is a 10 meter high staggered pyramid that was also used for religious and ritualistic purposes.

The site has numerous monuments. The simplest of them are stone spheres placed on columns, which were possibly solar representations.

Then there are the free-standing sculptures, such as the monolith representing an enormous jaguar, with its open jaws, devouring a man.


Izapa archaeological site

The tree of life is the big tree in the middle.


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