Takalik Abaj

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A low stairway rising to the left from a flat grassy area. The top of the stairway is blocked by thick tropical vegetation.
Takalik Abaj was inhabited for almost two thousand years.[1] This photo shows the stairway to Terrace 3, dating to the Late Preclassic.[2]
A cleared area of dirt strewn with rubble, with raised areas to the left and right and covered by a roof supported by wooden poles.
Excavations of the Middle Preclassic ballcourt at Takalik Abaj[3]

Tak'alik A'baj' is an ancient ruin in Guatemala; it used to be called Abaj Takalik. It is one of several Mesoamerican sites that have Olmec and Maya features. The site was inhabited the during the Preclassic and Classic periods, from the 9th century BC through to at least the 10th century AD. It was an important place for trade.[4] It traded with Kaminaljuyu and Chocolá. It is one of the largest sites with carved monuments on the Pacific coast.[5] Olmec-style sculptures include a possible colossal head, rock carvings and others.[6] The site has one of the biggest collections of Olmec-style sculpture outside of the Gulf of Mexico.[6]

Takalik Abaj shows the first signs of Maya culture that happened by about 400 BC.[7] The site includes a Maya royal tomb and examples of Maya writing that are among the first from the Maya region. Studies continue at the site; the monumental buildings and long tradition of sculpture in a variety of styles suggest the site was important.[8]

Finds from the site indicate contact with the distant city of Teotihuacan in the Valley of Mexico. They imply that Takalik Abaj was conquered by it or its allies.[9] Takalik Abaj was linked to long-distance Maya trade routes that let the city take part in a trade network that included the Guatemalan highlands and the Pacific coastal plain from Mexico to El Salvador.

Takalik Abaj was a large city with the main buildings in four main groups spread across nine terraces. While some of these were natural, others were man-made, needing a lot of work and materials.[10] The site had a clever water drainage system and many stone sculptures.

Notes[change | change source]

  1. Popenoe de Hatch 2005, p.997.
  2. García 1997, p.176.
  3. Schieber de Lavarreda 1994, pp.73–4.
  4. Love 2007, p.297. Popenoe de Hatch 2005, pp.992, 994.
  5. Sharer & Traxler 2006, p.236.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Love 2007, p.288.
  7. Sharer & Traxler 2006, p.33.
  8. Adams 1996, p.81.
  9. Popenoe de Hatch & Schieber de Lavarreda 2001, pp.993–4.
  10. Wolley Schwarz 2001, pp.1006, 1009.

References[change | change source]

  • Adams, Richard E.W. (1996). Prehistoric Mesoamerica (Revised ed.). Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 0-8061-2834-8. OCLC 22593466.
  • García, Edgar Vinicio (1997). "Excavaciones en el acceso a la Terraza 3, Tak'alik Ab'aj" (PDF online edition). X Simposio de Investigaciones Arqueológicas en Guatemala, 1996 (edited by J.P. Laporte and H. Escobedo) (Guatemala: Museo Nacional de Arqueología y Etnología): 171–193. http://www.asociaciontikal.com/pdf/16.96_-_Vinicio.pdf. Retrieved 2009-02-12.  (Spanish)
  • Love, Michael (December 2007). "Recent Research in the Southern Highlands and Pacific Coast of Mesoamerica". Journal of Archaeological Research (Springer Netherlands) 15 (4): 275–328. doi:10.1007/s10814-007-9014-y. ISSN 1573-7756. 
  • Popenoe de Hatch, Marion (2005). "La Conquista de Tak'alik Ab'aj" (PDF online edition). XVIII Simposio de Investigaciones Arqueológicas en Guatemala, 2004 (edited by Juan Pedro LaPorte, Bárbara Arroyo and Héctor E. Mejía) (Guatemala: Museo Nacional de Arqueología y Etnología): 992–999. http://www.asociaciontikal.com/pdf/98%20-%20Hatch-1.04.pdf. Retrieved 2009-02-01.  (Spanish)
  • Popenoe de Hatch, Marion; and Christa Schieber de Lavarreda (2001). "Una revisión preliminar de la historia de Tak'alik Ab'aj, departamento de Retalhuleu" (PDF online edition). XIV Simposio de Investigaciones Arqueológicas en Guatemala, 2000 (edited by J.P. Laporte, A.C. Suasnávar and B. Arroyo) (Guatemala: Museo Nacional de Arqueología y Etnología): 990–1005. http://www.asociaciontikal.com/pdf/77.00.pdf. Retrieved 2009-02-01.  (Spanish)
  • Schieber de Lavarreda, Christa (1994). "Tak'alik Ab'aj: Hallazgo de un Juego de Pelota del Preclásico Medio" (PDF online edition). VII Simposio de Investigaciones Arqueológicas en Guatemala, 1993 (edited by J.P. Laporte and H. Escobedo) (Guatemala: Museo Nacional de Arqueología y Etnología): 73–86. http://www.asociaciontikal.com/pdf/10.93%20-%20Schieber.pdf. Retrieved 2009-02-14.  (Spanish)
  • Sharer, Robert J.; with Loa P. Traxler (2006). The Ancient Maya (6th, fully revised ed.). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-4817-9. OCLC 57577446.
  • Wolley Schwarz, Claudia (2001). "Investigaciones arqueológicas en los Grupos Norte y Oeste de Tak'alik Ab'aj" (PDF online edition). XIV Simposio de Investigaciones Arqueológicas en Guatemala, 2000 (edited by J.P. Laporte, A.C. Suasnávar and B. Arroyo) (Guatemala: Museo Nacional de Arqueología y Etnología): 1006–1012. http://www.asociaciontikal.com/pdf/78.00.pdf. Retrieved 2009-02-01.  (Spanish)

Other websites[change | change source]

Coordinates: 14°38′45″N 91°44′10″W / 14.64583°N 91.73611°W / 14.64583; -91.73611