La Blanca is a pre-Columbian Mesoamerican archaeological site in present-day Retalhuleu Department, western Guatemala. It has an occupation dating predominantly from the Middle Preclassic (900–600 BC) period of Mesoamerican chronology, and at its peak was one of the largest known Mesoamerican sites of that era. It is located on the western Pacific coast, where it rose to become the major regional center following the decline of an earlier polity at Ojo de Agua[disambiguation needed]. La Blanca's regional dominance appears to have lasted approximately three centuries, until it was eclipsed by Ujuxte, 13 km east. The site had the highest pyramid in the Pacific Lowlands at 25 meters high.
Monument 3 was discovered in La Blanca Mound 9, in a residential zone thought to be largely or completely elite. Excavations of the mound initially revealed domestic features such as floors, burials. Monument 3, however, is unique in Mesoamerican archaeology. It has a sculpture, found on the western slope of the mound. The sculpture is in the shape of a quatrefoil and formed of rammed earth, composed of a sandy loam. The rammed earth was then coated with dark brown (nearly black) clay. The inner rim of the sculpture was painted with hematite red.
The La Blanca quatrefoil has a channel within the rim that may have carried water to the interior basin. The initial hypothesis is that the sculpture functioned as a locus of ritual in which water, or notions of fertility, were invoked. Such an idea is consistent with the quatrefoil shape, which in the Classic period iconography symbolizes a watery portal to the supernatural realm. Dating to approximately 850 B.C., the La Blanca sculpture appears to be the earliest example of a quatrefoil known in Mesoamerica.
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- Love, Michael; with Julia Guernsey (2005). "The Context and Associations of Monument 3 from La Blanca, Guatemala". The Foundation Granting Department: Reports Submitted to FAMSI. Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies, Inc. (FAMSI). Retrieved 2007-02-12.
- Neff, Hector (2005). "Buscando las fábricas del Plomizo: Exploraciones geofísicas en el área de La Blanca, Costa Sur de Guatemala" (PDF, online reproduction at FAMSI). In Juan Pedro Laporte, Bárbara Arroyo and Héctor E. Mejía (eds.). XVIII Simposio de Investigaciones Arqueológicas en Guatemala, 2004: Museo Nacional de Arqueología y Etnología (2 vols.). Guatemala City: Ministerio de Cultura y Deportes, Museo Nacional de Arqueología y Etnología; Asociación Tikal; and the Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies Inc. (FAMSI). pp. Report 100. OCLC 66464884. Retrieved 2008-01-15. (Spanish)