Sonia Castillo Flores
Esther Elisabeth Espinoza
Arcelia Villaseñor Medina
Greg Espinoza Espinoza
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.
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
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
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
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.
The Olmecs were polytheists (they
worshipped many gods). The jaguar
was considered one of the major gods. They
considered themselves descendants of the
Another important god was Quetzalcoatl, the
feathered serpent god of maiz.
The society was divided in: governors-
priest, the ball game
players, potters, sculptors, painters, merchan
At the top were ruler-priests, were
warriors and civil leaders in addition
to being a religious leader.
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.
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
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.
Tradicional calender and ritual
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 B.C.by 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.
The Olmecs made cutting tools from obsidian
(volcanic glass, which when cut is extremely
Jade was used to make ceremonial
axes and jewellery also.
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
Gulf of Mexico
“Llanura del Golfo”
“Sierra Madre Oriental”
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