Today, the ‘tour’ was scheduled to go up to Monte Alban, a pre-columbian archeological site just west of Oaxaca. My lovely bride has seen it once, that was enough for her, so the tour departed slightly down on troop strength.
It was a beautiful day, some cloud cover so it didn’t get too hot, but enough blue sky to make it interesting. These trees are all over Monte Alban, and the story is that they are the genesis of the name that the spainiards gave to the place (monte alban- white mountain). This one is near the visitors center and museum.
This was one of our first stops, at an excavated residence, complete with burial tombs. We had a pretty long and involved discussion here of the societal forces and reflections around having all you ancestors buried in your backyard, for all intents and purposes. This was not a mobile society, obviously. No one wants someone else’s relatives buried in the back yard, after all!
Looking south across the northermost section of the Monte Alban site From here we hiked south, kind of around the nw corner of the excavations on the hilltop, leading us to this:
This is the area just to the north of the main plaza, the rounded lump you see centered in the picture is the un-excavated top of the southern edifice on the site. From here we move south, up the steps in the middle of the picture, to see this:
This is the main plaza at Monte Alban, the little black dots you see down there are people, it gives a little idea of the scale. The place is pretty huge! The last time we were here it was winter, and very brown. This is the very end of the rainy season, so everything is nice and green.
This is one of the more symmetrical and complete pyramids among those that have been excavated.
This large construction is in the NW corner of the main plaza.
These columns once stood 12 meters high, and held a roof over this walkway, probably so the chiefs could look down upon all the activity below in shaded comfort.
A sunken area in the main plaza.
These bas-relief figures are in the SW corner of the plaza. There is much academic discussion over their actual purpose, some say they are medical pictures, some say they depict prisoners, but pretty much everyone agrees they aren’t dancers. it was the first thing that came to someones mind, and it stuck.
This is the Ball Court, where a ceremonial game reminiscent of soccer and handball was played.