The olmec culture


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The olmec culture

  1. 1. Sonia Castillo Flores Esther Elisabeth Espinoza Arcelia Villaseñor Medina Greg Espinoza Espinoza Brenda Silva THE OLMECS
  2. 2.  There are a couple of reasons why the Olmecs are so important. First, they used and perhaps developed many things culturally and religiously that were later used by the Mayans and Aztecs and many other cultures. Second, they had a wide influence in their day, which gives us reason to believe that they may be responsible for spreading some of these ideas.
  3. 3. Olmec civilization (Cities) The major Olmec urban area in early times was San Lorenzo Tenochtitlán (1500-900 a. C). It was the first olmec region. It is located between the Coatzacoalcos’s River. This was a ritual and political place, housing thousands and using an elaborate water and drainage system. The city and in fact the ancient Olmec civilization is often remembered because of the gigantic stone heads that have been found here.
  4. 4. La Venta was inhabited by people of the Olmec Culture from 1200 BC until 400 BC after which the site appears to have been abandoned. It is believed to have been an important civic and ceremonial center. What were once assumed to be seven basalt "altars" were found at La Venta. These altars, roughly 2 meters high and twice as wide, feature an elaborately dressed and sculpted figure on the center front.
  5. 5. Religion  The Olmecs were polytheists (they worshipped many gods). The jaguar was considered one of the major gods. They considered themselves descendants of the jaguar. Another important god was Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent god of maiz.
  6. 6. Social Structure  The society was divided in: governors- priest, the ball game players, potters, sculptors, painters, merchan ts.  At the top were ruler-priests, were warriors and civil leaders in addition to being a religious leader.
  7. 7. Art The Olmecs carved stone, jade, and the volcanic rock basalt (used for the great stone heads). The stone was quarried and imported. We can see similar types of sculpture as far away as central Mexico (the land of the Aztecs) and the states of Oaxaca, Morelos, Guerrero, perhaps even farther. The colossal heads are representations of human heads. It is unknown who they are, or what was the purpose. They are at least seventeen and they measure aprox. 1.8 mts. But they may vary in seize.
  8. 8. How did the olmecs influenced It's believed that they may have been early adopters of the complex religious system that the Mayans and the Aztecs would use. Temple mounds, jaguars, many gods, and perhaps even human sacrifice were used by the Olmec society. The jaguar is a common figure in Olmec religion - especially combined with a snake or human child. The layout of their newer city (after the decline of San Lorenzo Tenochtitlán), La Venta, would be copied by future societies. The calendar used for centuries in Mexico may also have originated with the Olmec. Their astronomy was also carried on by later groups. They were probably obsess with the timing of religious ritual, as the Mayans and Aztec would be after them. Even the ritual ball game so popular among the Aztecs is believed to have been played in the ancient Olmec civilization.
  9. 9. Tradicional calender and ritual ball game The Olmecs created the beginning of an urban ceremonial calendar began with the development of astronomical knowledge which it is founded and established a pictographic script. They think they started numbering knowledge, calendar and writing, as seen in several of his monuments and sculptures. It was a sport with ritual associations played since 1,400 the preColumbia peoples of Ancient Mexico and Central America. The sport had different versions in different places during the millennia, and a modern version of the game, this ball game, is still played in a few places by the local indigenous population.
  10. 10. Obsidian tools  The Olmecs made cutting tools from obsidian (volcanic glass, which when cut is extremely sharp).  Jade was used to make ceremonial axes and jewellery also.
  11. 11. Writing The writing it up 30 different symbols, The icons and symbols as decoration in other parts of Olmec art, display similarities to the later Mayan glyphs. The Isthmian script is a very early Mesoamerican writing system in use in the area of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec from perhaps 500 BCE to 500 CE, although there is disagreement on these dates. It is also called the La Mojarra script and the Epi-Olmec script
  12. 12. GEOGRAPHIC FEATURES  Gulf of Mexico  Pacific Ocean  Coatzacoalcos’s River  “Llanura del Golfo”  “Sierra Madre Oriental”
  13. 13. Cited Sources        "Ceremonias rituales olmecas en La Venta." Mexico Desconocido. N.p.. Web. Sep 2013. <>. Ríos, Edilberto. "El Juego de Pelota." Blogspot. N.p., n.d. Web. Sep 2013. <>. Anatole Pohorilenko, . "La cabeza olmeca y su descubrimiento." Mexico Desconocido. N.p.. Web. sep 2013. <>. "San Lorenzo Tenochtitlan: primer lugar olmeca." Terra. N.p., 25 july 2008. Web. Sep 2013. < Lorenzo Tenochtitlan primer lugar olmeca.htm>. "CULTURA OLMECA." . N.p.. Web. 21 Nov 2013. < olmecas.htm>. msrego, . "Government and Leaders of the Olmecs."PBworks. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Nov 2013. < and Leaders of the Olmecs>. "The ancient Olmec Civilization." The Aztec History. N.p.. Web. 21 Nov 2013. <>.