Articles
MEZCALA
A thousand plus years before the well-known native civilizations known as Mayan and Aztec were begun, there was another great Mexican cultural advancement named Olmec in the east coastal region of the country.  During the same time as the Olmec, there was a lesser known group of aboriginal people living and thriving in the barren and arid  canyon filled landscape bordering the Balsas River in the Mexican state of Guerrero.  In 1948 a Mexican born artist  and scientist named Miguel Covarrubias gave these people an identity based on the alternate title for that river  -  Mezcala.
There is, today, disagreement between archeologists as to whether the Olmec Society developed from the Mezcala people or vice versa.  Or did they each evolve without any knowledge of the other.   They came into being at the same time but there are significant differences between them to suggest they knew not of one another.  The Olmec people built huge pyramids, made pottery items and carved very large basalt stone human head replicas up to five feet in diameter.  The Mezcala natives did build  small pyramidal type structures but they did not construct any ceramic pottery.  They did, though, carve stone - in characters but in sizes that were normally 4 to 8 inches tall and rarely as much as 20 inches.
The lapidarists of the Mezala civilization worked in very hard stones to make small abstract as well as conventionalized  figurines of humans and animals and occasionally human replica masks.  They would have used simple stone tools to abrade and chip away at the material and cut it by using string saws.  These string saws were tough vines or leather thongs along with very sharp quartz sand and animal fat that were drawn back and forth across the matrix in order to laboriously slice it into desired shapes and sizes.  These mysterious facsimiles were flat and had minimal details other than outlines along with small straight grooves and drilled holes to simulate human or animal faces and bodies.  The metamorphic rocks used in this art included several hard minerals in green, gray and brown colors and the finished products were usually well polished.
The Mezcala society, whose village locations have not often been scientifically excavated, apparently began in roughly 400 to 600 BC and may have continued for about a thousand years until maybe AD 600.  The later Aztecs, of around AD 1400-1600, apparently found and excavated early Mezcala sites to acquire the small sculptures. They then displayed them in their own temple sancturaries and pyramidal shines as ancient treasures.  These prehistoric diminutive stone figures are very rare and difficult to acquire today though copies are currently being machine made and sold and sometimes marketed as being antiquated.  But you can go to some museums and view the ancient and unusual and beautiful figurines that were hand carved thousands of years in the past by the unique people of Mezcala.
REFERENCES:
Bell, Betty, Editor       1974
    THE ARCHAEOLOGY OF WEST MEXICO
Benson, Elizabeth P.      1971
    THE OLMEC AND THEIR NEIGHBORS
Coe, Michael D.            1994
    MEXICO: FROM THE OLMECS TO THE AZTECS
Davies, Nigel       1982
    THE ANCIENT KINGDOMS OF MEXICO
Furst, Jill L. & Peter T. Furst     1979
    PRE-COLOMBIAN ART OF MEXICO
Laugham, Maria       1988
    ANCIENT MEXICO
Townsend, Richard, Editor     1978    
    ANCIENT WEST MEXICO       
 Von Winning, Hasso      1968
     PRE-COLUMBIAN ART OF WEST MEXICO