Which Culture Was The First Mesoamerican Civilization

Contents

what characterized the first mesoamerican civilizations

One of the world’s most ancient civilizations, Mesoamerica, was established on staple crops such as maize, beans, and squash, and it is one of the few places on the planet where the agricultural revolution began independently. … Beans, squash, and other plants were selected and cultivated in a similar manner, resulting in one of the world’s major agricultural revolutions. The Olmec civilisation was the first Mesoamerican civilization to develop a distinct cultural identity, and it was the first society to do so.

By encouraging Paleo-Indians to settle down and lead sedentary lifestyles, the Agricultural Revolution altered the course of Mesoamerican history.

Both the Aztecs and the Maya were technologically and linguistically sophisticated civilizations.

Conquistadors from Spain defeated the Aztecs and the Maya in 1521, bringing the region under their control.

The Aztecs, Maya, and Inca were all known for their monumental architecture, which consisted of structures of enormous grandeur and scale.

In what order did Mesoamerican civilizations arise?

Because it is one of the few locations in the world where the agricultural revolution began on its own, staples such as maize, beans, and squash were used to build the great civilizations of Mesoamerica. … One of the world’s major agricultural revolutions began with the selection and development of plants like beans, squash, and other vegetables. Mesoamerica’s earliest civilisation, the Olmec, was the first to develop a distinct cultural identity of their own. Those who lived and prospered in this part of Veracruz were from the gulf region.

Which of the following best represents the similarities and differences between the Aztecs and the Maya civilizations?

Tenochtitlan, the site of modern-day Mexico City, was the home of both the Aztecs and the Maya.

Although all three civilizations placed a high value on medicine, science, art, and philosophy, astronomy and architecture were given the most priority.

What were some of the differences between the civilizations of early North Americans and mesoamericans?

Cultural Dissimilarities and Similarities Generally speaking, North American cultures were smaller, with tribes or towns that were not bound together by family or blood connections.

North Americans were largely hunters and gatherers, but the Mesoamericans farmed their own crops and sold them for other items in exchange for trade goods.

What were the main characteristics of religious belief in early Mesoamerica?

The worldview of Classic Mesoamerica was populated by deities who interacted with individuals at every stage of their lives. Men in positions of authority were intimately involved in ritual. Every monarch had religious responsibilities, and the priests themselves were in charge of the ceremonial calendar and, as a result, the agricultural cycle, which was a critical component of the economic system.

How did the geographical characteristics of Mesoamerica shape the development of agriculture and civilization in this region?

The climate and lush terrain of the region aided in the development of civilisation. As a result of the rain flooding rivers and creating fertile soil, the Olmec civilization’s economy flourished as a result of the abundance of food produced.

What is a Mesoamerican civilization that predated the Maya?

Olmec. The civilisation of Mesoamerica that existed before to the Maya.

What features did the early civilizations of Mesoamerica and South America have in common?

Was there anything in common between the early civilizations of Mesoamerica and the civilizations of South America? Both civilizations relied on maize (corn) as a main food source to sustain their economies. Both civilizations received a calendar that was a product of the previous Olmec civilisation, which before them. Both religions practiced human sacrifice as well.

How would you describe where Mesoamerica is located?

Central and southern Mexico are part of the ancient area of Mesoamerica, which includes the modern-day countries of northern Costa Rica and Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador, Guatemala and Belize, as well as central and southern Mexico. For thousands of years, this area was inhabited by peoples from many cultures, including the Olmec, Zapotec, Maya, Toltec, and Aztec.

Which of the following peoples formed the first urban civilization in Mesoamerica?

The settlements that have been unearthed so far date between 2000 and 1500 BCE. The Olmec Period (c. 1500-200 BCE) is also known as the Pre-Classic or Formative Period since it was during this time that the Olmecs, Mesoamerica’s earliest society, flourished. The Olmecs established themselves along the Gulf of Mexico and proceeded to construct magnificent cities of stone and brick.

What was the first civilization in the Americas?

Caral Supe Civilization (Caral Supe Civilization) c. 3000-2500 BC: Caral Supe Civilization The Caral-Supe civilization is the oldest known sophisticated civilization on the American continents that has been uncovered to date. The Caral Supe communities, which were discovered just lately in the twenty-first century, were located along the shore of central Peru’s Pacific coast. 27th of July, 2019

What is the study of Mesoamerican art based on?

Mesoamerican Artworks are characterized by their style. Archaeologists, for example, can draw conclusions about how these societies viewed time based on their shared calendars, which are built up of 260-day years. It is also evident from artifacts and works of art that these societies valued materials that were comparable to one another, such as green-colored jade stone and bird feathers.

What does the term Mesoamerican mean?

artifacts from the Mesoamerican period Archaeologists, for example, can draw conclusions about how these societies saw time based on their shared calendars, which are built up of 260-day years.

It is also evident from the artifacts and works of art that these societies valued materials that were comparable to one another, such as green-colored jade stone and bird feathers.

What were the similarities between the Mesoamerican civilizations?

There are two other similarities between these three civilizations: they all used a calendar to predict eclipses, schedule religious ceremonies, determine when to plant/harvest crops, and go to war (the Mayas and the Aztecs more so than the others), and they all had some form of writing system. The Mayas and the Aztecs were the most advanced in this regard.

What did Maya civilization have in common with Western civilization?

What did the Maya culture have in common with Western civilization, and how did it differ from it? The emergence of a written language is the answer. It is still admired by archaeologists today how the Maya, an important civilisation of the ancient Americas, established written language as a sophisticated mode of communication and as a mechanism to leave records of its existence on the planet.

How the Mesoamerican civilizations had made a great impact on the development of science and technology?

The Maya civilisation, which flourished in Mesoamerica, was responsible for the greatest advances in science and technology. A few examples of its innovations include the position-value number system with zero, the production of the most accurate calendar known to mankind, the discovery of rubber, and the corbelled arch.

What is Mesoamerican and Andean?

Most of Mesoamerica’s culture may be found in central and southern Mexico as well as Belize and Guatemala, among other places. Located in the central Andes (Peru and western Bolivia), the Andean cultural region also includes the southern Andes (Chile and western Argentina).

Which culture was the first Mesoamerican civilization the Aztecs?

Mexica and southern Mexico, Belize, and Guatemala constitute the majority of the Mesoamerican cultural region. This cultural region includes the middle and southern Andes (Peru and western Bolivia), as well as the northern Andes (Argentina and Chile) (Chile and western Argentina).

Mesoamerican Civilizations

The earliest Mesoamerican civilisation was founded by which culture? Mesoamerican civilizations We must understand and appreciate the contributions of Mesoamerican civilizations because what does mesoamerica signify and who inhabited early south America are important questions to consider. The history of Mesoamerican cultures The intellectual revolution in Mesoamerica See more entries in the FAQ category.

HISTORY OF MESOAMERICAN CIVILIZATION

San Lorenzo and La Venta:1200 – 400 BC
The first civilization in central and north America develops in about 1200 BC in the coastal regions of the southern part of the Gulf of Mexico. Known as the Olmec civilization, its early site is at San Lorenzo.From about 900 BC the capital city of the Olmecs moves further east along the Gulf coast to La Venta, an island site in the Tonalá River. For the next 500 years La Venta is the cultural centre of a large region, trading with much of central America. The Olmec traditions ofsculptureand oftemple architecture, developed over eight centuries, will influence all the subsequent civilizations of the region.
The most characteristic sculptures of San Lorenzo and La Venta are astonishing creations. They are massive stone heads, more than two metres in height, of square-jawed and fat-lipped warriors, usually wearing helmets with ear flaps.The chunky and uncompromising quality of these images will remain typical of much of the religious art of Mesoamerica, particularly in the region around Mexico City. It can be seen in the rain-god masks ofTeotihuacan(about 2000 years ago), in the vast standing warriors atTula(about 1000 years ago) and in the brutally severe monumental sculpture of theAztecs(500 years ago).
The first American monuments:from 1200 BC
In both the centres of Olmec civilization, at San Lorenzo and then La Venta, numerous large clay platforms are raised. At their top there are believed to have been temples, or perhaps sometimes palaces, built of wood. The concept of climbing up to a place of religious significance becomes the central theme of pre-Columbian architecture.Its natural conclusion is the pyramid, with steps by which priests and pilgrims climb to the top (unlike the smooth-sided tomb pyramids of Egypt). La Venta initiates this long American tradition too. One of its pyramids is more than 30 metres high.
The Olmec temple complexes set the pattern for societies in America over the next 2000 years. The pyramids, with their temples and palaces, dominate the surrounding dwellings as powerfully as the priestly rulers and their rituals dominate the local community.It is also probable that the Olmecs engage in a custom which remains characteristic of all the early civilizations of America – the ritual of human sacrifice, reaching its grisly peak in the ceremonies of theAztecs.
The Zapotecs and Monte Alban:from 400 BC
The Zapotecs are among the first people to develop the Olmec culture in other regions. From about 400 BC at Monte Alban, to the west of the Olmec heartland, they establish a ceremonial centre with stone temple platforms.Monte Alban eventually becomes the main city of this part of southern Mexico. Pyramids, an astronomical observatory and other cult buildings and monuments (including America’s earliest carved inscriptions) are ranged in a temple district along the top of a ridge. In terraces on the slopes below there is a town of some 30,000 people. The Zapotecs thrive on this site for more than 1000 years, finally abandoning it in about AD 700.
Teotihuacan and Tikal:early centuries AD
Around the beginning of the Christian era two regions of central America begin to develop more advanced civilizations, still based on a priestly cult and on temple pyramids.The dominant city in the northern highlands is Teotihuacan. It eventually covers eight square miles, with a great central avenue running for some two miles. At its north end is the massive Pyramid of the Moon. To one side of the avenue is the even larger Pyramid of the Sun (66 metres high). The sculptures on an early pyramid in Teotihuacan introduce Quetzalcoatl, the most important god of ancient Mesoamerica. His image is a snake’s head with a necklace of feathers (the plumed serpent).
The other classic civilization of Mesoamerica is that of theMaya, developing in what is now the eastern part of Mexico and the neighbouring regions of Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador and western Honduras. Much of this region is jungle. The inaccessibility of the great centres of Maya culture (of which the largest is Tikal) means that they outlast all rivals, surviving a succession of violent changes in the civilization of central Mexico.The first of these changes is the sudden collapse of Teotihuacan in about AD 650. It is not known for certain which invaders overrun this greatest city of ancient America. But the next people to establish themselves as rulers of the valley of Mexico, in the 10th century, are theToltecs.
The first American script:2nd c. BC – 3rd c. AD
Of the various early civilizations of central America, the Maya make the greatest use of writing. In their ceremonial centres they set up numerous columns, or stelae, engraved with hieroglyphs. But they are not the inventors of writing in America.Credit for this should possibly go back as far as theOlmecs. Certainly there is some evidence that they are the first in the region to devise acalendar, in which writing of some sort is almost essential. TheZapotecs, preceding the Maya, have left the earliest surviving inscriptions, dating from about the 2nd century BC. The first Mayan stele to be securely dated is erected at Tikal in the equivalent of the year AD 292.
The Mayan script is hieroglyphic with some phonetic elements. Its interpretation has been a long struggle, going back to the 16th century, and even today only about 80% of thehieroglyphsare understood. They reveal that the script is used almost exclusively for two purposes: the recording of calculations connected with thecalendarand astronomy; and the listing of rulers, their dynasties and their conquests.Thus the priests and the palace officials of early America succeed in preserving writing for their own privileged purposes. In doing so they deny their societies the liberating magic of literacy.
You might be interested:  What Is Culture Jamming

Mesoamerican Civilizations

During the ancient Mesoamerican period (which includes modern-day Mexico and Central America), cultures flourished in extraordinary numbers, from the beginnings of theOlmec civilization around 1200 BCE to the end of the Maya civilization and the catastrophic collapse of the Aztec civilization in the sixteenth century CE. With towering pyramids as their foundation, great cities were erected, empires were created, and magnificent art was made in everything from turquoise to exotic seashells. In this collection, we will look at some of the famous peoples of the Americas who have shaped the continent.

Despite the fact that each civilization was distinct, many common threads ran through them, such as their origin stories, gods, religious rituals, art, and architecture, among other things.

Suddenly, in 600 CE, the great structures of Teotihuacanwere deliberately destroyed by fire, as were the majority of the artworks and religious sculptures in what must have been a dramatic change in the ruling class.

Whatever the cause, the city as a whole remained populated for another two centuries following this climatic disaster, but its position as the dominant force in the region faded into obscurity.

What were the most important characteristics of the Mesoamerican cultures quizlet? – Easierwithpractice.com

The link between Mesoamerican societies and their gods, as well as their interaction with their environment, were the most essential qualities that they shared during the classic period. What was the significance of warfare in Mesoamerica throughout the postclassic period?

What characterized the first Mesoamerican civilizations?

What were the characteristics of the first Mesoamerican civilizations? The Olmec, or the Aztecs (rubber people because rubber trees grew), It is believed that they farmed along the riverbanks, traded in jade and obsidian, and formerly had big constructed urban centers for religious purposes. They were supplanted by the Zapotec people.

What were the most important shared characteristics of Mesoamerican cultures in the Classic Period your answer?

The most important shared characteristics of Mesoamerican cultures, Teotihuacan and the Maya, during the classic period were that they both controlled rural populations for labor, that they both used irrigation systems to sustain both region’s growing populations, that the city/elite had control due to their religious and secular beliefs, and that they both used irrigation systems to sustain both region’s growing populations.

What is the importance of Mesoamerica?

In the course of global history, Mesoamerica has witnessed two of the most significant historical transformations: the birth of the first cities and the establishment of New World civilizations as a result of protracted interactions between indigenous peoples and peoples from Europe, Africa, and Asia.

What were the four Mesoamerican civilizations?

The Olmec, Maya, Zapotec, Teotihuacan, Mixtec, and Mexica are just a few of the Mesoamerican cultures that are well-known today (or Aztec). There are many different types of landscapes in Mesoamerica, such as humid tropical zones, arid deserts, high hilly terrain, and low coastal plains.

What is the Mesoamerican culture?

Mesoamerican civilisation is defined as the complex of indigenous civilizations that formed in areas of Mexico and Central America prior to Spanish discovery and conquest in the sixteenth century.

Which Mesoamerican civilization was the most advanced?

Mesoamerican Indian is a member of any of the indigenous peoples who live in Mexico and Central America (approximately between latitudes 14° N and 22° N), and is also known as a Mesoamerican Indian. The geographic distribution of Mesoamerican Indians. Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc. is a publishing company that publishes encyclopedias. Mesoamerican Indian cultures have a shared ancestry that may be traced back to pre-Columbian civilizations in the region.

What was the greatest civilization in Mesoamerica?

Medicine, science, art, and philosophy were all extremely significant to all three civilizations, but astronomy and building were the two areas where they placed the greatest emphasis. The Aztecs, Maya, and Inca were all known for their monumental architecture, which consisted of structures of enormous grandeur and scale.

Which culture was the first Mesoamerican civilization quizlet?

The Olmecs were a people that lived in Central America.

What were some of the major achievements of Mesoamerican civilizations?

The following are the ten most significant accomplishments of the Olmec civilisation of Mesoamerica.

  • One of the greatest Mesoamerican civilizations, the Olmec produced some of the greatest Mesoamerican artworks, and three of the most exceptional jade artworks produced by any Mesoamerican culture. The Olmec civilization was the first great Mesoamerican civilization, and the Olmec civilization produced some of the greatest Mesoamerican artworks.

Which Mesoamerican cultural achievements left the greatest legacy?

One of the most significant of the Mayans’ accomplishments was astronomy, which was considered one of the finest.

They were aware of the number of days in a year as well as the fall and spring equinoxes. The Mayans erected their city around the pyramid of Kukulan, which is still standing today. This is where they were able to display their understanding of astronomy.

What technologies did the Mesoamerican civilizations develop that were unique to their culture?

  • The Mayans created a sophisticated language and writing system, as well as a library of books. In addition to the fabled Mayan Calendar, Mayan astronomy was extremely precise, and their art was both beautiful and foreboding. Mayan medicine was remarkably sophisticated for its time, and Mayan agriculture was highly advanced for its time.

What did the Olmecs contribute to society?

A sophisticated language and writing system, as well as a library, were constructed by the Mayas. In addition to the fabled Mayan Calendar, Mayan astronomy was extremely precise, and their art was both beautiful and foreboding. Mayan medicine was remarkably sophisticated for its time, and Mayan agriculture was extremely advanced for its time.

How did the Olmec influence later cultures?

The Mayans created a sophisticated language and writing system, as well as a library. In addition to the fabled Mayan Calendar, Mayan astronomy was extremely precise, and their art was both beautiful and foreboding. Mayan medicine was remarkably sophisticated for the period, and Mayan agriculture was highly advanced for the time.

What was the importance of La Venta to Olmec culture?

La Venta is a city in the Mexican state of Tabasco that served as the capital of the Middle Formative Olmec civilisation. It was initially inhabited around 1750 BCE and developed into a significant town between 1200 and 400 BCE. Its economy was focused on maize farming, hunting and fishing, as well as trading networks and transportation.

What are the Olmecs mainly known for?

They are perhaps most known for the sculptures they made, which were 20 ton stone heads that were quarried and carved to memorialize their kings, which are still standing today. The term Olmec comes from an Aztec phrase that means “rubber people,” since the Olmec were known for producing and trading rubber across Mesoamerica.

What was one characteristic unique to Olmec culture?

What was one quality that distinguished Olmec culture from other cultures? a hieroglyphic writing system and a calendar system based on the movement of the sun were both developed by the ancient Egyptians Additionally, they are regarded as America’s first city builders. What were some of the contributions made by the Zapotecs to later cultures?

Which of the following was at the core of Olmec culture?

Term The early domesticated beast of burden in the Andean region was the Definition llama.
Term The cultural core of early Olmec civilization was located at Definition San Lorenzo and La Venta
Term What plants were domesticated and formed the staple of Mesoamerican diet? Definition Corn, beans, and squash.

Which of the following was at the core of Olmec culture quizlet?

The Olmec civilisation has a number of distinguishing characteristics. a hieroglyphic writing system and a calendar system based on the movement of the sun were both developed by the Egyptians America’s early city builders are also known as the Pilgrims. Was there any influence from the Zapotec people on later cultures?

What type of impact did the Olmec civilization have?

The Olmecs were interested in astronomy and mathematics, and they constructed a system of writing and mathematics. They were the first civilization in Mesoamerica to construct pyramids. Their calendar and religious ideas appear to have had an impact on subsequent civilizations. As a matter of fact, many researchers refer to the Olmecs as Mesoamerica’s “mother culture.”

What impact did the Olmecs have on other Mesoamerican cultures?

Highly desired commodities such as obsidian blades, animal skins, and salt were commonly traded across nearby societies since they were in high demand among them. Long-distance trading routes were established by the Olmecs in order to get the goods they need, eventually establishing relationships all the way from the valley of Mexico to central America.

What was the mother culture of Mesoamerica?

Trading between adjacent tribes was commonplace for highly coveted commodities like as obsidian blades, animal skins, and salt.

The Olmecs established long-distance trading channels in order to procure the goods they need, eventually establishing relationships all the way from the valley of Mexico to the Central American continent.

Which was the mother culture of all of Mesoamerican civilization?

The civilisation of the Olmecs

Which civilization is known as the mother culture?

The Olmec Civilization was a civilization that existed in Mesoamerica.

What is the difference between a mother culture and a sister culture?

It is known as the “mother culture” when one civilization produced customs that were then passed on to other cultures that followed after them. The term “sister culture” refers to a society that borrows customs from other civilizations and then passes their “patchwork” cultures on to succeeding civilizations later on.

The Foundational Religion of the Ancient Olmec

The Olmec civilisation (1200-400 B.C.) was the first major Mesoamerican civilization to flourish, and it provided the groundwork for a number of subsequent civilizations. There are many parts of Olmec civilization that are still a mystery, which is not unexpected given how long ago their society went into decay. Archaeologists, on the other hand, have made remarkable advances in their understanding of the religion of the ancient Olmec people.

The Olmec Culture

It is estimated that the Olmec civilisation existed between 1200 and 400 B.C., and that it flourished along Mexico’s Gulf coast. The Olmecs established significant cities at San Lorenzo and La Venta, which are now located in the modern-day Mexican states of Veracruz and Tabasco, respectively. The Olmec were farmers, warriors, and traders, and the little artifacts that have survived suggest that they had a thriving civilisation. By 400 A.D., their civilisation had come to an end for reasons that archaeologists are still trying to figure out.

The Continuity Hypothesis

In order to piece together the limited evidence that have survived from the Olmec civilisation, which perished more than 2,000 years ago, archaeologists have had to work very hard. It’s difficult to get information on the old Olmecare. When looking for information on the religion of ancient Mesoamerican societies, modern scholars must consult three sources:

  • Analysis of remains, such as sculptures, structures, and ancient manuscripts, where such materials are accessible
  • Religious and cultural traditions were first reported in Spanish in the early 1500s. In certain areas, ethnographic investigations of modern-day traditional religious activities are being conducted.

Following extensive research into the religions of the Aztecs, Maya, and other ancient Mesoamerican civilizations, experts reached an unusual conclusion: these faiths have certain traits that point to a much earlier, more fundamental system of thought. The Continuity Hypothesis, presented by Peter Joralemon, was designed to fill in the gaps left by fragmentary records and investigations. In the opinion of Joralemon “There is a fundamental religious system that all Mesoamerican peoples adhere to.

To put it another way, different civilizations can fill in the gaps in our understanding of Olmec society.

Despite the fact that the Popol Vuh is typically connected with the Maya, there are several examples of Olmec art and sculpture that appear to depict pictures or scenarios from the book of the same name.

At the Azuzularchaeological site, for example, there are two sculptures of the Hero Twins that are remarkably similar to one another.

The Five Aspects of Olmec Religion

ArchaeologistRichard Diehl has discovered five components related with theOlmec religion, according to his research. These are some examples:

  • A cosmos that identifies the socio-cultural framework in which Gods and men interacted
  • A cosmos that identifies the socio-cultural context in which Gods and men interacted
  • Divine creatures and gods who ruled the cosmos and interacted with men were referred to as A class of shamans or priests who served as intermediaries between the common Olmec people and their gods and spirits was established. Shamanic and/or ruler-led rituals that reinforced notions of the cosmos were performed. Both natural and man-made sacred places are found around the world.

Olmec Cosmology

It is a universe that identifies the socio-cultural environment in which Gods and men interacted; it is a cosmos that identifies the socio-cultural framework in which Gods and men interacted. Divine creatures and gods who ruled the cosmos and interacted with men were described as follows: A class of shamans or priests who served as intermediaries between the common Olmec people and their gods and spirits was known as the Rituals performed by shamans and/or rulers that served to reaffirm notions about the universe Both natural and man-made sacred locations are included.

Olmec Deities

They worshipped a number of deities, the representations of which may be found in several surviving sculptures, stonecarvings, and other creative forms. Their names have been lost to the passage of time, but archaeologists have been able to identify them based on their traits. There are at least eight Olmec deities who occur on a regular basis, according to archaeological evidence. Joralemon has given them the following names as a result of his research:

  • TheOlmec Dragon, the Bird Monster, the Fish Monster, the Banded-Eye God, the Maize God, the Water God, the Were-jaguar, and theFeathered Serpent are just a few of the creatures that have appeared in legend.
You might be interested:  Which Of The Following Aspects Of Communication Is More Important In A Low-context Culture

The majority of these gods would go on to play important roles in other cultures, such as the Maya. At this time, there is scant knowledge available concerning the roles these gods played in Olmec culture, let alone about how they were worshipped precisely.

Olmec Sacred Places

A number of man-made and natural landmarks were deemed sacred by the Olmecs. Temples, plazas, and ball courts were examples of man-made structures, whereas springs, caverns, mountaintops, and rivers were examples of natural structures. There has been no discovery of a structure that is clearly identified as an Olmec temple; nonetheless, there have been several elevated platforms that are likely to have acted as foundations for temples made of a perishable material like as wood. Complex A at the archaeological site of La Venta is often regarded as a religious complex of some significance.

However, there is plenty of evidence that the Olmecs were avid ballplayers, including carved likenesses of players and preserved rubber balls discovered at the El Manat site.

El Manat is a bog where the Olmecs, most likely those who resided at San Lorenzo, placed offerings that are still visible today.

However, despite the fact that caves are scarce in the Olmec region, some of their carvings reveal a veneration for them: in some stonecarvings, the cave is depicted as the mouth of the Olmec Dragon, for example.

The Olmecs revered mountains, as did many other ancient societies. AnOlmec sculpturewas discovered near the peak of the San Martn Pajapan Volcano, and many archaeologists believe that man-made hills at locations like as La Venta are supposed to mimic sacred mountains for ritual purposes.

Olmec Shamans

There is considerable evidence that the Olmec had a shaman class in their culture, which is consistent with their beliefs. Following the Olmec, the Mesoamerican societies that descended from them possessed priests who worked full-time and served as mediators between ordinary people and the divine. On display are sculptures depicting shamans who appear to have transformed from humans into were-jaguars. Bones of toads with hallucinogenic characteristics have been discovered in Olmec sites, suggesting that the substances were employed by shamans to induce hallucinations.

Sharp artifacts, such as stingray spines, have been discovered in Olmec sites, and it is believed that they were utilized in rites of sacrifice and bloodletting.

Olmec Religious Rituals and Ceremonies

The rites are the least well-known of Diehl’s five pillars of Olmec religion, according to contemporary academics. Because of the existence of ceremonial artifacts, such as stingray spines for bloodletting, it is clear that there were major rituals taking place, but the specifics of those rites have been lost to the passage of time. Human bones, notably those of newborns, have been discovered at several locations, indicating that human sacrifice was practiced by the Maya, the Aztecs, and other societies in the centuries that followed.

A religious and ceremonial context would be assigned to the game in later societies, and it is plausible to assume that the Olmec did the same.

Sources:

  • Michael D. Coe and Rex Koontz have collaborated on this project. Mexico: From the Olmecs to the Aztecs, 6th Edition. Mexico: From the Olmecs to the Aztecs, 6th Edition Thames and Hudson Publishing Company, New York, 2008. Ann Cyphers is a fictional character created by author Ann Cyphers. In the city of San Lorenzo, Veracruz, there is an emergence and decadence. Vol XV – Number 87 (September-October 2007). P. 36-42
  • Diehl, Richard A.The Olmecs: America’s First Civilization (New York, NY: Oxford University Press). Gonzalez Lauck, Rebecca B., “El Complejo A,La Venta, Tabasco,” London: Thames and Hudson, 2004. “El Complejo A,La Venta, Tabasco.” Arqueologa Mexicana, Volume XV, Number 87 (September-October 2007), pp. 49-54
  • Grove, David C., “Cerros Sagradas Olmecas,” in Arqueologa Mexicana, Volume XV, Number 87 (September-October 2007), pp. 49-54. Elisa Ramirez is the translator. Pp. 30-35 in Arqueologa Mexicana, Volume XV, Number 87 (September-October 2007)
  • Miller, Mary, and Karl Taube. In this book, you will find an illustrated dictionary of ancient Mexican gods and symbols, as well as information about the Maya. Thames and Hudson Publishers, New York, 1993.

Olmec Civilization

It is a hotly debated topic among archaeologists and anthropologists alike about the significance of the Olmec in Mesoamerican culture. The subjects of Anthropology, Archaeology, Social Studies, Ancient Civilizations, World History, Storytelling, and Visual Arts

Olmec Head Statue

The Olmec enormous heads are the most well-known of the artifacts that the Olmec civilisation left behind in their wake. Historically, the Olmec people are thought to have inhabited a substantial portion of what is now southern Mexico. DEA / M. SEEMULLER photographed this image. “>The Olmec civilisation is what is referred to as an archaeological culture in the scientific community. This indicates that there is a collection of artifacts that archaeologists believe to be representative of a certain culture.

  1. To date, archaeologists believe artifacts discovered predominantly on the northern half of Mesoamerica’s Isthmus of Tehuantepec during the period 1200–500 C.E.
  2. The nameOlmecwas really created by a group of academics.
  3. There are many Olmec sites that are regarded to have been key centers of activity, the most noteworthy of which are San Lorenzo and La Venta, both of which are located in southern Mexico.
  4. Approximately 900–500 C.E., the ancient city of La Venta, located east of San Lorenzo and closer to the Gulf Coast (15 kilometers/9 miles) in the present Mexican state of Tabasco, reached its zenith.
  5. Initially, the Olmec diet consisted of items obtained through fishing and hunting.
  6. Massive structures, including as huge stone heads, thrones, stela (upright slabs), and sculptures, were built by the Olmec civilization.
  7. They also constructed clay mounds and pyramids, as well as a variety of pottery vessels, which were prevalent over a wide territory impacted by the Olmec civilisation throughout time.

The Olmec civilization was one of the most influential ancient civilizations in the early Americas.

However, many historians believe that all of these civilizations can be traced back to their common Olmec ancestors.

Historically, the Olmec people are thought to have inhabited a substantial portion of what is now southern Mexico.

SEEMULLER, archaeologist Photograph by DEA A person who examines the artifacts and lives of ancient societies is known as an archaeologist.

ceramic Clay is used as an adjective.

prehistoric Before the development of written records, there was a period of time known as the prehistoric period.

society Nouna big group of people who are bound together by common characteristics or relationships. Stone slab or pillar that has been carved in honor of someone is known as a stela.

Media Credits

With the exception of promotional graphics, which normally link to another page that carries the media credit, all audio, artwork, photos, and videos are attributed beneath the media asset they are associated with. In the case of media, the Rights Holder is the individual or group that gets credited.

Director

Tyson Brown is a member of the National Geographic Society.

Author

The National Geographic Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to the exploration of the world’s natural wonders.

Production Manager

Gina Borgia is a member of the National Geographic Society.

Program Specialists

According to National Geographic Society’s Sarah Appleton, Margot Willis is a National Geographic Society photographer.

Specialist, Content Production

According to National Geographic Society researcher Sarah Appleton, Margot Willis is a National Geographic Society researcher.

Producer

Sarah Appleton is a National Geographic Society researcher. Ms. Margot Willis, of the National Geographic Society, says

Last Updated

  • User Permissions expire on August 11, 2020. Users’ permissions are detailed in our Terms of Service, which you can see by clicking here. Alternatively, if you have any issues regarding how to reference something from our website in your project or classroom presentation, please speak with your instructor. They will be the most knowledgeable about the selected format. When you contact them, you will need to provide them with the page title, URL, and the date on which you visited the item.

Media

If a media asset is available for download, a download button will show in the lower right corner of the media viewer window. If no download or save button displays, you will be unable to download or save the material.

Text

The text on this page is printable and may be used in accordance with our Terms of Service agreement.

Interactives

  • Any interactives on this page can only be accessed and used while you are currently browsing our site. You will not be able to download interactives.

Roots of Mesoamerican Writing

In exquisite stone engravings, the Maya documented their history over a period of seven centuries. Despite the fact that archaeologists have decoded these hieroglyphs, they are still uncertain about their origins. A team of researchers has now described what they believe to be the world’s first known evidence of writing in the Americas. According to many archaeologists, the two artifacts indicate that the Maya writing originated in an older society known as the Olmec culture. Many signs have long suggested that the Olmec culture, which lived between 1200 and 400 BC, was the first to create cultural practices such as writing, which were later adopted by the Maya civilization, which reigned from around A.D.

  1. Olmec architecture and colossal sculpture on a grand scale show that these people were the first in Mesoamerica to consolidate wide political authority in the hands of a few individuals, conditions that were subsequently related with the spread of writing throughout the region.
  2. However, there is little hard evidence of Olmec scribes.
  3. A fist-sized cylinder seal used for printing was discovered behind layers of trash, together with carved greenstone chips little larger than a thumbnail.
  4. Several characteristics of the objects have been interpreted by the researchers as symbols corresponding to words.
  5. The cylinder is inscribed with a character that resembles a Maya sign known as “3 Ajaw,” which corresponds to the third day of the third month of the Mesoamerican calendar.
  6. In accordance with the custom of naming kings according to their birthdate, Pohl interprets the Olmec cylinder seal as bearing the name “King 3 Ajaw.” Some experts doubt the fragments’ antiquity and whether or not they conform to formal standards of writing, according to the experts.

fall considerably below the criteria for first writing.” Others, though, are convinced: “This is the oldest writing,” says archaeologist Richard Diehl of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, “and it is the oldest writing ever discovered.” “It is both the mother and father of all later Mesoamerican writing systems,” says the author of the book.

Sites that are related Instructional materials about Mesoamerican cultures Sites associated with the Olmec civilization

Notes on Mesoamerican Civilization

Mesoamerica was yet another world location for the emergence of an early civilization, but Mesoamerican societies were not necessarily connected to a single famous river (like the Nile) as the other early civilizations were, though there were plenty of rivers in the New World.Because of the physical separation from Europe, Asia and Africa, large-scale civilization in the Americas tended to emerge somewhat later than elsewhere (maybe 1000 bce versus 3000 bce in Mesopotamia), and Mesoamerican did not benefit as much from the exchange of ideas and objects that accompanied contact between civilizations on the other three continents.There have been complicated geophysical arguments put forward-to explain the differences between what happened in Eurasia versus Mesoamerica-about the ease of material and intellectual exchange in an east-west direction, such as from Beijing to Paris, and the difficulty of such exchanges taking place in a north-south direction, across different climactic zones, such as between Chicago and Rio de Janeiro.In addition, civilization in Mesoamerica did not have the cultural unity like that enjoyed by, for example, Egypt or China. There were several different societies in Mesoamaerica that rose and fell over time, (most widely known were the Olmec, Zapotec, Toltec, Mixtec, Mexica, Aztec, Inka). In this respect, Mesoamerica most closely resembled what happened in Mesopotamia where one after another they appeared, spread, and then decayed. It was the initial emergence of the Olmec along the Gulf coast (1200 – 400 bce) that set many of the patterns of future civilizationin Mesoamerica.Though isolated, it is clear that Mesoamerican civilization achieved some very impressive mathematical, architectural, engineering andcalendrical advances.In terms of urban population, for example, the city of Teotihuacan in theValley of Mexico (not too far frompresent-day Mexico City) reached asize of well over 100,000 by 100 ce; that sizeeasily rivaled anything that had existed anywhere elsein the ancient world.(Note that there are still scholarly disputes over detailswho actually inhabited the city, maybe the Olmecs, before the city’s decline by 8th century.)One feature that Mesoamerican society had in common with its Near Eastern and later West European counterparts was a proclivity to violence.There was almost continuous violence as societies rose and fell; again very much like he history of Mesopotamia.Some similarities to pre-1500 civilizations:
  • Writing existed
  • Mayan script was hieroglyphic in nature, similar to that of Egypt or China
  • A priestly temple class, similar to that of Egypt, Mesopotamia, or India, was a highly strong factor in society. To understand Quetzalcoatl, the most significant god, it is necessary to look at him as a plumed serpent (a snake with feathers) and try to figure out exactly what he signified and his significance in religious myth. The substantial involvement of human sacrifice in Mesoamerican religions was one of the faiths’ main differences (Yet that is also anther point on which there is much controversy.)
  • Archaeological monuments (pyramid and temple building, such as those seen in Egypt, Mesopotamia, and India)
  • Teotihuacan, Chichen Itza, Cuzco, and Tenochtitlan, for example, were sedentary farming communities that grew into vast metropolis in the course of time.

Mesoamerican civilisation was challenged with the entrance of Europeans starting around 1500 ce (around 1500 years ago). Initially, it was the Spanish and Portuguese conquistadors who made their way to the New World, but soon the French, British, and Dutch also made their way there. They had a far less footprint in Central and South America than the previous three. The Spanish and Portuguese goal was simple: plunder. It took decades and centuries for the conquistadors to gain control of Mesoamerican societies, and over the course of those centuries, Spanish/Portuguese and indigenous American cultures merged to form a new hispano-Mexican-Central American culture.

  • It is important to note that I make no mention of the demographic calamity that befell Mesoamerican cultures.
  • It should be noted that some estimates have the population reduction in the immediate century after the first encounter with Europeans as high as 80 percent.) In parts of contemporary-day Mexico, Central America, and South America, the past and the present coexist side by side.
  • The locals are likewise struggling to make sense of the past and find diverse interpretations (and actually to discover the true past).
  • Please feel free to go at my lecture notes on early Mesoamerican history (*.pdf file) if you have the opportunity.
  • Here are some online lectures and websites that we recommend:
  • History of the American Indians
  • History of the Aztecs and theHistory of the Maya
  • History of Mesoamerican culture
  • History of the Maya
  • History of the Aztecs and theHistory of the Maya There are wiki sections for the Mayan Civilization, the Aztec Empire, the Inca Empire, Mexico, Mesoamerica (which includes an excellent chronology and a very good essay), and Andean cultures. All of these entries serve as excellent beginning points for additional investigation
  • Mesoamerican Civilizations in Antiquity by Kevin Callahan, of the University of Minnesota, has a wealth of knowledge on the Maya, Mixtec, Zapotec, and Aztec civilizations. Jaguar: Throughout Mayan history, the Jaguar has served as a symbol of power. I’m not sure how I feel about this one
  • It’s a game of life and death, and it’s a sport of life and death. The Mesoamerican Ballgame is an award-winning website that investigates the game played by ancient Mesoamerican societies
  • It is available in both English and Spanish. Mayan Art and Architecture appears to be of high quality, yet it is related to a site that is of questionable integrity overall. The last destination is Machu Picchu. There are wonderful images, maps with historical overviews, and panoramic views of the inside of the tombs on this website dedicated to the ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru
  • It is well worth seeing. Inca Civilisation is a comprehensive study of Inca civilization (including music, people, language, economy, and maps)
  • However, while the Maya map is beautiful, it is not particularly helpful
  • Mesoweb: An Exploration of Mesoamerican Cultures, Maya Ruins.com, The Rise and Fall of the Maya Empirefrom History.com, Mesoamerican writing systems, Mesoamerica articles and photos, Teotihuacan: The City of the Gods, Mesoamerica articles and photos, Teotihuacan: The City of the Gods, Teotihuacan: The City of the Gods, Teotihua

This page is copyright © 2008-12, C.T. EvansFor information [email protected]

Olmec

Monument 1, one of four enormous heads from the Olmec period at La Venta. An ancientPre-Columbian people residing in the tropical lowlands of south-centralMexico, roughly in the area that is now the modern-day states of Veracruz and Tabasco on theIsthmus of Tehuantepec, the Olmec were a people who lived in the tropics before the arrival of the Spanish. Their immediate cultural effect, on the other hand, extended far further, with Olmec artwork being discovered as far away as El Salvador. Since the Olmec predominated in their regions from around 1200 BC to approximately 400 BC, many scholars believe that they were both the progenitors of and the mother culture of every key element that would subsequently be seen in succeeding Mesoamerican civilizations.

Overview

The Olmec Heartland is characterized by marshy lowlands interspersed by low hill ranges and volcanoes, and it is the most populous region in the region. The Tuxtlas Mountains, which rise abruptly in the north along the Gulf of Mexico’s Bay of Campeche, are a popular tourist destination. The Olmecs built permanent city-temple complexes in a number of locations, including San Lorenzo Tenochtitlán, La Venta, Tres Zapotes, Laguna de los Cerros, and La Mojarra, among other places. They also had a significant impact outside of the heartland: fromChalcatzingo, in the highlands of Mexico, to Izapa, on the Pacific coast in what is now Guatemala, Olmec artifacts have been discovered all across Mesoamerica during this time period, fromChalcatzingo to Izapa.

  • The Olmec are often regarded as the first civilisation in the Western Hemisphere to create a writing system, according to archaeological evidence.
  • Although some questioned the 2002 finding, claiming that it was not writing, the discovery of a stone inscription in 2006 essentially resolved the debate.
  • The Olmec, whose name literally translates as “rubber people” (see below), were perhaps the first to play the Mesoamerican ballgame, which became popular among later cultures of the region and was used for both recreational and religious purposes.
  • Heartland of the Olmecs Their religion established all of the major features (such as a fixation with arithmetic and calendars, as well as a spiritual focus on death expressed via human sacrifice) that were later developed by succeeding religions.
  • While it is still unclear what ethnicity the Olmec belonged to, there have been a number of hypotheses put out on the subject.

Etymology of the name “Olmec”

In Nahuatl, the language of the Mexica (also known as the Aztecs), the word “Olmec” translates as “rubber people.” It was the Aztec term for the people who lived in this area during the considerably later period of Aztec domination than the ones who were here during the earlier period. Latex was collected from theCastilla elastica, a species of rubber tree that grows in the area, by ancient Mesoamericans dating back to the Olmecs and Aztecs. Early on, the juice of a native vine, Ipomoea alba, was combined with the latex to produce rubber, which dates back to 1600 BC.

Before it was realized that the ruins and artifacts from this area had been abandoned more than a thousand years before the time of the people the Aztecs knew as the “Olmec,” early modern explorers gave them the name “Olmec” to distinguish them from other ruins and artifacts from other parts of the world.

History

Olmec civilization started in San Lorenzo Tenochtitlan, where uniquely Olmec characteristics first appeared approximately 1150 BC. The culture spread from there to other parts of the world. The development of civilisation in this region was most likely aided by the local environment, which consisted of well-watered richalluvial soil that encouraged the cultivation of large quantities of maize. This ecosystem can be likened to the ecology of other ancient civilizational hubs, such as Mesopotamia and the Nile Valley.

Because many of these luxury objects, like as jade and magnetite, had to have been brought in from far away places, it implies that the early Olmec elites had access to a sophisticated commerce network across Mesoamerica.

La Venta

Approximately at the same time when La Venta began to gain importance, the first Olmec city of San Lorenzo was all but abandoned around 900 BC, indicating that the Olmecs had lost their way. Environmental changes, such as the shifting of the flow of many significant rivers, may have had a role in this relocation. A period of widespread destruction of numerous San Lorenzo monuments happened during this time, approximately 950 BC, which may have been the result of an internal insurrection or, less likely, an invasion of the city state.

The construction of the Great Pyramid and several ceremonial structures at La Venta took place during this time period, and the puzzling Massive Offerings and mosaics were buried at this time period.

Around 400 BCE, the Olmec state and civilization came to an end as well, though the significance of the ceremonial structures appears to have survived both the state and the society.

Decline

What happened to the Olmec civilisation is not known with any certainty at this time. The Tres Zapotes site was occupied for a long period of time after 400 BC, although it did not retain the characteristics of the Olmec civilisation. This period has been referred to as the “Epi-Olmec” culture by certain academics. This post-Olmec civilization has characteristics that are comparable to those seen at Izapa, which is located some distance to the southeast. Successor cultures had established themselves within a few hundred years of the evacuation of the final Olmec settlements, with the Maya to the east and the Zapotec to the southwest being the most notable examples.

Beyond the heartland

Ancient objects, patterns, figures, monuments, and motifs in the manner of the Olmecs have been discovered in archaeological records from places hundreds of miles (or kilometers) away from the Olmec homeland. These are some examples of websites:

  • It is in theValley of Mexico that the Tlatilco civilization is most prominently represented, with artifacts such as hollowbaby-face motif figurines and Olmec motifs on pottery found in the key hubs of the society. Chalcatzingo, in the Valley of Morelos, which has monumental art in the Olmec style as well as rock art depicting figures in the Olmec style
  • Teopantecuanitlan, in the Guerrero, which contains monumental art in the Olmec style as well as city plans with characteristic Olmec traits

Many experts believe that the Olmecs were responsible for the murals in Juxtlahuaca and Oxtotitlan caves in Guatemala, as well as the Abaj Takalik site in Guatemala. Many hypotheses have been suggested to explain the emergence of Olmec influence outside of the heartland’s geographic boundaries. There are many different theories about the Olmecs, including long-distance trade by traders, Olmec colonization of other regions, Olmec artisans traveling to other cities, and the conscious imitation of Olmec artistical styles by developing towns.

Following the school of thought promoted by Christine Niederberger and developed in particular by Caterina Magni, the Olmec culture was a multi-ethnic and multi-linguistic culture that occupied a vast area of Mesoamerica during the period from 1200 BC to approximately 500 BC, and it was a pluri-linguistic culture.

Olmec artifacts have been discovered south of the border in Costa Rica, as well as in other parts of Mexico.

In contrast to the more conventional viewpoint, which identifies a separate Olmec heartland, this viewpoint is relatively recent (see map).

Olmec art

Monument 5 in La Venta, titled “The Grandmother” (reproduction) Olmec artforms may be seen in both towering statues and little jadework, demonstrating the continuity of the culture. A great deal of Olmec art is highly stylized, and it employs iconography that reflects the religious significance of the artworks. Despite this, some Olmec art is astonishingly lifelike, demonstrating an accuracy of portrayal of human anatomy that is arguably only rivaled by the greatest Maya Classic period art from the pre-Columbian New World.

Olmec figurines have also been discovered in large numbers at locations all over the world during the Formative Period.

Ceramics are created in kilns capable of reaching temperatures in excess of 900° C. Ancient Egypt is the only other prehistoric society that has been documented to have experienced such high temperatures.

Olmec colossal heads

The huge helmeted heads of the Olmecs are among the most well-known examples of their art. Because there is no documented pre-Columbian literature that provides an explanation for these remarkable structures, considerable conjecture has surrounded their origins. Because of their distinctiveness, these heads appear to be images of legendary ball players or possibly monarchs who have been fitted up in the accessories of the game. According to Grove, the distinctive components of the headgear may also be seen in the headdresses of human figures on other Gulf Coast monuments, indicating that they are personal or collective emblems for the individuals who wore them.

  1. Several sources indicate that one of the biggest heads weighs up to 40 tons, while most publications place the weight of the bigger heads at 20 tons.
  2. The heads of the Tres Zapotes were fashioned from basalt that was unearthed on the San Martin Volcano.
  3. Alternatively, it is probable that the heads were pulled and rafted down rivers from the Llano del Jicaro quarry to their final destinations, or that they were transported on giant balsa rafts.
  4. Some of the heads, as well as many other monuments, have been mutilated, buried and disinterred, placed in other positions, and/or reburied; it is still unclear whether these activities were carried out as part of a ritual or as a result of a dispute or conflicts.
Site Count Designations
San Lorenzo 10 Colossal Heads 1 through 10
La Venta 4 Monuments 1 through 4
Tres Zapotes 2 Monuments AQ
Rancho la Corbata 1 Monument 1

Pottery and trade

An archaeology team employed NAA (neutron activation analysis) in March 2005 to compare over 1000 ancient Mesoamerican Olmec-style ceramic items with 275 samples of clay in order to “fingerprint” the pottery’s source. They discovered that “the Olmec packaged and exported their beliefs throughout the area in the form of specific pottery shapes and forms, which swiftly became markers of elite rank in many locations of ancient Mexico,” according to the researchers. In response, another research, this time utilizing petrography, was published in August 2005, which discovered that “the transfers of vessels between highland and lowland main centers were reciprocal, or two way.” Five of the samples discovered in San Lorenzo were “unambiguously” from Oaxaca, according to the researchers.

The findings of the INAA investigation were later defended in two pieces published in the journal Latin American Antiquity in March 2006.

For this reason, according to the authors of Latin American Antiquitypapers, the INAA sample is significantly bigger than the petrographic sample (a total of over 1600 examinations of raw materials and clays vs about 20 ceramic thin sections in the petrographic research).

Religion

The rear of Stela C from Tres Zapotes is shown here. As of this writing, this is the second-oldest Long Count date that has been discovered. The numbers 7.16.6.16.18 correspond to the date of September 3, 32 BC (Julian). The glyphs around the date are likely to be one of the few remaining instances ofEpi-Olmec writing, and they are as follows: See the main article for more information. Mythology of the Olmecs In contrast to Maya mythology, Olmec mythology has no surviving texts similar to thePopul Vuh, and as a result, any presentation of Olmec mythology must rely on interpretations of surviving monumental and portable art, as well as analogies with other Mesoamerican myths.

Olmecs and the development of the zero

In some circles, the Olmecs are said to have been the first civilization in North America to invent the zero. Using the Maya’sLong Count calendar, which employed the base-20 positional numeral system, the Maya were forced to use zero as a place-holder inside theirvigesimal (base-20) positional number system. When calculating these Long Count dates, a shell glyph was utilized as a zero sign; the earliest of these dates (found on Stela 2 atChiapa de Corzo, Chiapas) had a date of 36BCE. It is considered that the use of zero in the Americas predates the Maya and was perhaps invented by the Olmecs, because the eight earliest Long Count dates are found outside of the Maya’s homeland.

History of scholarly research on the Olmec

Until the late nineteenth century, historians were completely unaware of the Olmec civilisation. The accidental discovery of the first enormous head by José Melgar y Serrano in Tres Zapotes, Veracruz, in 1862 marked the beginning of a large period of rediscovery of Olmec artifacts in the Americas. In the 1920s, Frans Blom of Tulane University published the first precise descriptions of a number of Olmec sites, which were subsequently expanded upon. Early Mesoamericanists, on the other hand, thought the Olmec lived little more than a thousand years ago, during the Classic period.

Stirling, in collaboration with art historian Miguel Covarrubias, came to the conclusion that the Olmec civilisation existed before to most other known Mesoamerican civilizations.

The introduction of radiocarbon dating provided more confirmation of this. Eduardo Conteras and Michael D. Coe are two more notable archaeologists who have studied the Olmec civilization.

Alternative origin speculations

In part because the Olmecs built the earliest Mesoamerican civilisation and in part because so little is known about the Olmecs (in comparison, for example, to the Maya or the Aztecs), a large variety of Olmec alternative origin ideas have been put out, mostly for historical reasons. Despite the fact that some of these ideas, notably the claim that the Olmecs were of African descent, have become well-known within popular culture, the great majority of Mesoamerican academics do not believe them to be genuine.

Gallery

An Olmec Jade Mask An Olmec Were-jaguar Colossal Olmec head no. 6 fromSan Lorenzo Tenochtitlan One of the “twins” fromEl Azuzul

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *