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By Joyce Kelly

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In the Tehuacán Valley around 2300, and in the Valley of Oaxaca between 2000 and 1400. C. the Olmecs on the southern Gulf Coast of Mexico had developed and were occupying San Lorenzo Tenochtitlán in southern Veracruz. According to Michael D. " Most of the monuments at San Lorenzo Tenochtitlán were carved between 1150 and 900, including the famous colossal heads. Power then shifted to La Venta, which was the principal Olmec center from 900 to 400. This was during the Middle Preclassic period, when there were major developments in most of Mesoamerica.

D. 600-830) and Terminal Classic (830-1000) periods, although there are substantial Late Postclassic (1200-1540) remains on the east coast. The Page 5 Late Classic period was a time of significant population growth everywhere in the Maya lowlands, including most of the Yucatán Peninsula. Some earlier centers that had been greatly depopulated (or abandoned) were reoccupied. Some of the existing buildings were enlarged and refurbished, and a great amount of new monumental architecture was constructed.

I am speaking here of sites such as Chichén Itzá and Uxmal and others that are easy to reach on your own. If you have an INAH guidebook or a site plan (see below), you can really get around by yourself, and you will not be hurried through. However, some of these sites have bilingual guides who are generally pleasant and conscientious. They are also bonded by the Mexican government and have identification to that effect. Rates for a tour of the site are sometimes set by the government and should be discussed beforehand.

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