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Takalik Abaj facts for kids

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Takalik Abaj
A low stairway rising to the left from a flat grassy area. The top of the stairway is blocked by thick tropical vegetation.
Takalik Abaj was continuously occupied for almost two thousand years. This photo shows the access stairway to Terrace 3, dating to the Late Preclassic.
Takalik Abaj is located in Mesoamerica
Takalik Abaj
Location in Mesoamerica
Location El AsintalRetalhuleu DepartmentGuatemala
Region Retalhuleu Department
Coordinates 14°38′10.50″N 91°44′0.14″W / 14.6362500°N 91.7333722°W / 14.6362500; -91.7333722
Founded Middle Preclassic
Cultures Olmec, Maya
Events Conquered by:
Teotihuacan, K'iche'
Site notes
Archaeologists Miguel Orrego Corzo; Marion Popenoe de Hatch; Christa Schieber de Lavarreda; Claudia Wolley Schwarz
Architectural styles Olmec, Early Maya
Responsible body: Ministerio de Cultura y Deportes / Proyecto Nacional Tak'alik Ab'aj
Excavations of the Middle Preclassic ballcourt at Takalik Abaj

Tak'alik A'baj' is an ancient ruin in Guatemala; it used to be called Abaj Takalik. It is one of several Mesoamerican sites that have Olmec and Maya features. The site was inhabited the during the Preclassic and Classic periods, from the 9th century BC through to at least the 10th century AD. It was an important place for trade. It traded with Kaminaljuyu and Chocolá. It is one of the largest sites with carved monuments on the Pacific coast. Olmec-style sculptures include a possible colossal head, rock carvings and others. The site has one of the biggest collections of Olmec-style sculpture outside of the Gulf of Mexico.

Takalik Abaj shows the first signs of Maya culture that happened by about 400 BC. The site includes a Maya royal tomb and examples of Maya writing that are among the first from the Maya region. Studies continue at the site; the monumental buildings and long tradition of sculpture in a variety of styles suggest the site was important.

Finds from the site indicate contact with the distant city of Teotihuacan in the Valley of Mexico. They imply that Takalik Abaj was conquered by it or its allies. Takalik Abaj was linked to long-distance Maya trade routes that let the city take part in a trade network that included the Guatemalan highlands and the Pacific coastal plain from Mexico to El Salvador.

Takalik Abaj was a large city with the main buildings in four main groups spread across nine terraces. While some of these were natural, others were man-made, needing a lot of work and materials. The site had a clever water drainage system and many stone sculptures.

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Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Takalik Abaj para niños

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