Monte Alban site Jan 3
The tour group today went on a big bus to the site to Monte Alban. It is located on a hill outside of the city of Oaxaca. The tour driver told us when the Spanish first saw the hill they called it Monte Alban, which meant 'mountain covered with white flowers'. He showed us the tree that produces the white flower. I am sure in the 15th century the hillside would have been completely covered with this beautiful blooming tree. Today it was dry, dusty with the sparse trees and weeds that rattled in the breeze. The guide took us part way into the site then let us loose to look for ourselves. Even the site was dry and dusty. The flavor of the site was different as it was Zapotac with Olmec influences. Most of the pictures speak for themselves. There have been many theories about the meaning of the figures carved on the stone slabs. Some say they were dancers, hence the name, some said they were captives in various stages of being tortured. The guide today said this place might have been a medical university with the stones showing internal organs and people with medical problems. Now matter what they were, the carvings were wonderful. We had to leave too soon for me to look at everything I wanted.
I went back on the next day and spent the half-day the tour allowed and looked at the museum and some of the temples on the North and South sides. I bought a beautiful pair of silver earrings that were replicas of ones that came from the tomb collection. More later, Gay