Museum of Anthropology, Xalapa
Xalapa is home to one of Mexico's largest museums of anthropology. After a radioactive lunch, Mauricio and Lachlan took Steve and myself to this museum, and we thoroughly explored this amazing place.
The very long main corridor of the museum.
One of the things that I really liked about this museum was that it's local. Everything in it is local. It concentrates on the Olmec — and, to a lesser extent, Toltec — civilisations that flourished in the Xalapa region, prior to the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century.
The museum is most famous for its Olmec cabezas gigantes (lit: "gigantic heads"), of which it has several; with each one consisting of at least 3 cubic metres of solid rock.
Steve and I admire a chunky Olmec head.
I guess that if I was a human sacrifice 1,100 years ago, my philosophy would have been that if I was going to be sacrificed, I'd at least want to be sacrificed to something big. And these fellas really are big.
There are countless statues, cooking utensils, rock shards, and other works of stone in the museum. The majority of them are extremely well-preserved. There's even a circular rock carving — a single, unified circle of rock tapestry — that goes round for about 30m in length.
There's also a large tabletop model of the site of El Tajin, the ruins that are about 4 hours north of Xalapa, that I unfortunately won't be able to see on this trip (they're too far out of my way, and they're not in the "must-see" class of ruins). The model conveys the size, the grandeur, and the good condition of El Tajin quite vividly.
Large model of El Tajin.