The Environs of Tres Zapotes as the Find-Spot of the Tuxtla Statuette

John Justeson, Christopher A. Pool, Ponciano Ortiz Ceballos, María Del Carmen Rodríguez Martínez, Jane Mac Laren Walsh

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The famous greenstone figure known as the Tuxtla Statuette is one of only 12 objects known to bear an epi-Olmec inscription and was the first to become known to scholarship. For more than a century its original find-spot was imprecisely and erroneously identified as lying in the township of San Andrés Tuxtla or, more generally, in the Tuxtla Mountains. Correspondence in the National Anthropology Archives of the Smithsonian Institution documents that the figure was found on the Hacienda de Hueyapan de Mimendi, near the colossal head of Tres Zapotes. Archival research in Mexico's National Museum of Anthropology and the Archivo General del Estado de Veracruz, as well as interviews with descendants of owners of the Hacienda de Hueyapan and the statuette, allow us to confirm several features of the Smithsonian correspondence. The data indicate that the statuette was found within or very near the epi-Olmec regional center of Tres Zapotes and within the township of Santiago Tuxtla.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)747-764
Number of pages18
JournalLatin American Antiquity
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2020 by the Society for American Archaeology.


  • Tres Zapotes
  • Tuxtla Statuette
  • Veracruz
  • epi-Olmec
  • history of archaeology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • History
  • Archaeology


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