A 2,500-year-old city influenced by the Olmecs, often referred to as the "mother culture" of Mesoamerica, has been discovered hundreds of miles away from the Olmecs' Gulf coast territory, archaeologists said.
The remains of Zazacatla are providing insight into the early arrival of advanced civilizations in central Mexico, while also providing lessons about the risks to ruins posed by modern development that now cover much of the ancient city.
Archaeologist Giselle Canto said Wednesday that two statues and architectural details at the site, 25 miles south of Mexico City, indicate that the inhabitants of Zazacatla adopted Olmec styles when they changed from a simple, egalitarian society to a more complex, hierarchical one.
"When their society became stratified, the new rulers needed emblems ... to justify their rule over people who used to be their equals," Canto said of the inhabitants, who may not have been ethnically Olmec, but apparently revered the culture as the most prestigious.
MesoAmerican archaelogy is cosntantly changing. Which is just plain damned cool.