The Arizona Museum of Natural History presents the hall of Mesoamerican
cultures because there are links between the high cultures of Mexico and
Central America and the ancient Native American civilizations of the
Southwest, particularly the Hohokam. Shown is a reproduction by noted
Arizona artist Zarco Guerrero of an Olmec colossal head, such as are found
at the sites of La Venta, San Lorenzo and Tres Zapotes. The colossal heads,
carved from single boulders, stood between 1.6 and 2.4 meters high. Olmec
culture in the Mexican Gulf Coast area dates from about 1400-400 B.C.
The figures flanking the doorway are similar to those from Tula, Hidalgo,
and the wall paintings are in Teotihuacan style. Both Teotihuacan (100
B.C.-A.D. 750) and Tula (A.D. 750-1000) were major ceremonial and political
centers in central Mexico. The exhibition displays numerous figurines from
Colima, Nayarit and Jalisco in West Mexico, many of which date to the period
100 B.C.-A.D. 300.
Mesoamerican traits found among the Hohokam include construction of
temple mounds, such as Mesa Grande and Pueblo Grande, ball courts, religious
symbolism, figurines, palettes, copper bells and inlaid shell. The great
Mesoamerican food trilogy of maize, beans and squash arrived in the
Southwest from Mexico: corn and squash in the period 1000-1500 B.C, and
beans around 300-500 B.C.
53 N. Macdonald
Mesa, AZ 85201
(One block north of Main Street in downtown Mesa. Take US 60 or 202 to
Country Club Drive, go to Main Street, and proceed one-half mile east to