Botanical and Cultural Adventures

Botanical and Cultural Adventures

Friday, November 8, 2013

Monte Alban

Monte Alban is one of the great cultural sites of Oaxaca. The region has been inhabited continuously for a very long time due to the natural abundance and was likely one of the most important centers where crops were domesticated. So as you could imagine, any time there are resources where populations can burgeon you will start getting larger civilizations developing. Clearly this was the case with Monte Alban around 2000 years ago! This is a must see place that we make sure we go to on trips to Oaxaca.

Located on a mountainous ridge in the middle of the Oaxaca valley, it provides great views in every direction including the overlook toward the city of Oaxaca (left). The ridge was completely flattened by hand with only stone tools. An amazing feat on an incredible scale.

As is the same in the deserts, there is a great change once the area receives some rain. You can see the transformation of the main plaza during the dry season (above) and again after the first rains (right).

In the museum at the site they have some of the original carved stones with replicas out in the original location outside (for weathering/preservation purposes)

In the museum they show evidence of fairly complicated and risky surgeries where the patients had survived and the bones showed healing.  Not bad for around 2000 years ago!

Some of the pottery and artifacts found on site. The most precious finds from some of the tombs are housed in a museum down in the city next to the Ethnobotanical Garden.

They have left some of the ruins only partially restored to give an idea of what they looked like when they were first excavated and before any of the restoration had taken place.

The ball field after the rains.

 The views are impressive and the guides are really great. An amazing history that is too much to even come close to being summarized here.
 The stairs are steep and quite a workout.  Fortunately the largest and steepest have the hand railing to assist the climb and descent.