La Venta’s Offering 4: Representation of Olmec Ritual Practices

Author(s): Arlene Colman

Year: 2015


Offering 4 at La Venta consists of one brownstone and 15 greenstone human figurines arranged in front of six jade celts set on end. This unique offering was placed north of the pyramid in the Ceremonial Court of Complex A as part of a ritual activity that dedicated a new building phase in the court around 600 BC. It was associated with a massive serpentine pavement and a cruciform axe offering. About a century later, Offering 4 was reopened and checked. Offering 4 at La Venta conveys a story in media res. The vertical celts, apparently representing stelae, appear to reference the six stelae, which were positioned on the south base of the pyramid that flanked the stairway. The scene created in Offering 4 commemorated an event performed against the backdrop of the pyramid and the stelae. I explore this inference and possible roles and meanings that these stone stelae once played at La Venta.

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Cite this Record

La Venta’s Offering 4: Representation of Olmec Ritual Practices. Arlene Colman. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395106)


Monuments Olmec

Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;