Ancient Mesoamerica

Special Section: Southern Veracruz Archaeology

Llano del Jicaro

An Olmec monument workshop

Susan D. Gillespiea1

a1 Department of Anthropology, 109 Davenport Hall, University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, Urbana, IL 61801, USA


Llano del Jícaro, Veracruz, is a workshop site where Olmec monuments were carved from exposed boulders of Cerro Cintepec basalt. The site, which lies in the hinterland of the major Olmec center of Laguna de los Cerros, was discovered in 1960 by Alfonso Medellín Zenil, who moved one of its unfinished monuments to the Museum of Anthropology in Jalapa. In 1991 more intensive archaeological investigations at Llano del Jícaro located nine additional boulders, including a tabletop altar, with evidence of carving. Excavations around four of these monoliths uncovered debitage and hammerstones from the manufacturing process. Survey also located the remains of the probable residences of the stonecarvers.