Olmec Civilization Overview: Who were the Olmecs? What did they do? How are they important today?How can we link them to the Aztecs? http://www.aztec-history.com/olmec-civilization.html
Early Mesoamerican Civilizations - First known Mesoamerican Civilization - They were referred to as the"mother culture"because they started off the new era of civilizations - They started in Southern Mexico (Veracruz and Tobasco) around the year 1200 BC.- There are no real written documents that date back tothe Olmecs. - People thought that Olmec artifacts were actually Mayans,and that the Olmecs were originally from Africa.
Gulf Coast GeographyDisadvantages:-region was hot and humid with thick vegetation.-rainfall swelled rivers and caused flooding. Advantages:-deposits of salt, tar, and fine clay was used in makingpottery.-the hills to the north provided stone to make tools andmouments-the flood plains of rivers provided fertile land for farming.-the rivers provided good transport to spread trade.
The mostrecognizable Olmecsculptures are thegiant stone heads.They can representeither warriors, ballplayers, or individualrulers.
Olmec Life and Creations - Built big religious - Created large stone monuments that representedparticular Olmec rulers.- Based on discovered artifacts, experts believe the Olmecprayed to a variety of nature gods, one of them being thejaguar spirit, which was the central to Olmec religion.- The Olmec directed a large trading network. This networkhelped boost the Olmec economy and spread Olmecinfluence to other parts of Mesoamerica.- Ball games played the majority of their culture
Jaguar worshipwas shown insculptures and Olmecart, which depict ahalf-human, half-jaguar creature. Thejaguar represented apowerful rain god,whom the Olmecsworshipped to bringrain.
Stone pyramids were another part of Olmec architecture.These pyramidswere served astombs for greatOlmec rulers andsometimes forplaces of ritual.
Decline of the Olmec-There is no real truth to the collapse of the Olmeccivilization, although there are some speculations: - outside invaders may have caused the destruction. - the Olmecs themselves may have destroyed their own monuments upon the death of their rulers. - Olmec artifacts continue to offer clues about this firstknown Mesoamerican civilization.