The Olmec colossal heads consist of at least seventeen monumental stone
representations of human male heads sculpted from large basalt boulders.
The heads date from at least before 900 BC and are a distinctive feature
of the Olmec civilization of ancient Mesoamerica. All portray mature men
with fleshy cheeks, flat noses and slightly crossed eyes; their physical
characteristics correspond to a type that is still common among the
inhabitants of Tabasco and Veracruz. The boulders were brought from the
Sierra de los Tuxtlas mountains of Veracruz; given that the extremely
large slabs of stone used in their production were transported over
large distances, presumably involving a great deal of people and
resources, it is thought that finished monuments represent portraits of
powerful individual Olmec rulers; each is given a distinctive headdress.
The heads were variously arranged in lines or groups at major Olmec
centres, but the method and logistics used to transport the stone to
these sites remain unclear. The discovery of a colossal head at Tres
Zapotes in the 19th century spurred the first archaeological
investigations of Olmec culture by Matthew Stirling in 1938. Dating the
monuments remains difficult due to the movement of many from their
original context prior to archaeological investigation. Most have been
dated to the Early Preclassic period (1500–1000 BC) with some to the
Middle Preclassic (1000–400 BC) period.
Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olmec_colossal_heads>
Today's selected anniversaries:
After a show trial, William Wallace (pictured), leader of the
Scottish resistance against England during the Wars of Scottish
Independence, was executed in London's Smithfield Market.
The St. Bartholomew's Day massacre, a wave of Catholic mob
violence against the Huguenots, began, lasting for several months and
resulting in an estimated tens of thousands deaths across France.
As it prepared for war against China's Qing Dynasty, an ensuing
conflict that became known as the First Opium War, Britain captured the
port of Hong Kong.
World War II: The decisive Soviet victory in the Battle of
Kursk gave the Red Army the strategic initiative for the rest of the
Natascha Kampusch, who had been abducted at the age of 10 in
Vienna, escaped from her captor Wolfgang Priklopil after eight years in
The skeletal remains of Alexei Nikolaevich, Tsarevich of
Russia, and his sister Anastasia were found near Yekaterinburg, Russia.
Wiktionary's word of the day:
To beat into shape with a hammer.
Wikiquote quote of the day:
It is a paradoxical but profoundly true and important principle of life
that the most likely way to reach a goal is to be aiming not at that
goal itself but at some more ambitious goal beyond it.
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