National Geographic : 1940 Sep
Great Stone Faces of the Mexican Jungle 315 When and Why These Inscrutable Stone Faces Were Carved Are Still Intriguing Mysteries Matthew W. Stirling, leader of the expedition, kneels beside the largest of the colossal basalt heads found at La Venta. Like some battle-scarred veteran, this one has lost most of his jaw and his nose has been flattened probably the work of enemies who deliberately tried to destroy all evidences of this ancient culture long before the white man came to America. Eight and a half feet high and 22 feet in circumference, the head is also remarkable for its circular ear plugs, each decorated with a cross. The mysterious producers of this art have been called the "Olmecs," whose origin and fate are unknown.