Man of La Venta
Archaeologists study a colossal Olmec stone head in La Venta, Mexico in this 1947 National Geographic photo. The Olmec civilization, the first in Mesoamerica, offers valuable clues into the development of the rest of the region.
“It’s not what you find, it’s what you find out,” says David Hurst Thomas, a curator at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Which is to say that finding the artifact or remains of a building on an archaeological dig is only the half of it. It’s the story that flows out of these remnants of a civilization that really matters. In the spirit of adventure, we did our own digging into National Geographic’s archive of archaeology photographs. Click through to uncover photos that illuminate our fascinating past.
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