Cerro de las Mesas Monument 2

Author(s): Cherra Wyllie

Year: 2021


This is an abstract from the "Sculpture of the Ancient Mexican Gulf Coast, Part 2" session, at the 86th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Cerro de las Mesas Monument 2 is a colossal portrait head. Its flattened rear surface contains a relief-carved scene with a ruler in a broad-brimmed hat, vanquished captive with a calendric sign above his or her head, and a worn hieroglyphic text placed between them. In its entirety Monument 2 bridges the site’s Olmec heritage with Late Classic Veracruz conventions of image and text, forming a microcosm of Cerro de las Mesas elite traditions. While the enormous head on the obverse of the monolith is reminiscent of Tres Zapotes monumental sculpture in both form and detail (such as the three tear-like striations beneath the eyes), other elements, including the trefoil headdress and buccal mask, anchor it firmly to Early Classic ruler portraits on Cerro de las Mesas stelae, a point noted by Mathew Stirling. Moreover, the dissociated head and fleshless jaw are consonant with the decapitated ruler with detached mandible interred in Cerro de las Mesas Burial II-18 amid lavish grave goods, including a plain stone yoke. Rulers on Cerro de las Mesas stelae are frequently dressed as ballplayers. Similarities between Burial II-18 and Monument 2 offer renewed credence to the notion that colossal heads represent rulers as ballplayers.

Cite this Record

Cerro de las Mesas Monument 2. Cherra Wyllie. Presented at The 86th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology. 2021 ( tDAR id: 466751)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -98.987; min lat: 17.77 ; max long: -86.858; max lat: 25.839 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 30923