Although such features can be seen in the descendants of the Olmecs, some scholars have speculated that the mask represented an African, Chinese or even a Mediterranean face. But whatever the reason, Olmec society was in full flower by 1200 B. Some artisans were weavers, and made baskets, clothes, etc. The ruling class and the artists are thought to have lived in the city of about one thousand inhabitants, while the surrounding areas held about ten thousand people. National Science Foundation 2002 , 2002.
And there are several blue-green serpentine mosaic pavements tiled with clays and sands in a rainbow of different colors. The winning captain was very glorified and rewarding, making the risk of gambling worthwhile. Still, each Olmec site was laid out according to a preconceived plan, a fact that reflects both the people's religious beliefs and a fairly sophisticated knowledge of engineering. There was not much complexity to a system of social hierarchy amongst the people, but they still prove functional and successful in their ways. The Toltec Civilization Imagine enormous buildings made from pure gold, jade, and turquoise. The state of , and in particular its early , seem to have played an important role in the early history of Olmec culture. The first settlers of this area are believed to have emigrated through the Bering Strait during the last glaciation, approximately until 13,000 years ago.
This area is characterized by swampy lowlands punctuated by low hills, ridges, and volcanoes. Located about 25 miles 40 kilometers south of Mexico City, Zazacatla covered about one square mile 2. It is believed that in order to gain power and authority, rulers would often associate themselves with different gods, and the elite ruled by obtaining control over trade and precious imported materials, such as jade and cacao. Despite the variety of plants grown, maize was still the predominant crop. The broad nose and large lips and other facial features depicted in these giant heads very much resemble facial features we see in people from Africa. For example, numerous natural and ceramic spikes and have been found at Olmec sites, and certain artifacts have been identified as bloodletters. A hierarchical structure was created that monopolized resources.
It isn't surprising, therefore, that while the experts have plenty of theories about the Olmec's origins, social structure and religion, few of these ideas are universally accepted. It is possible that women also played in the games, as there are figurines from which are females wearing helmets. All that remains of Olmec culture are stone carvings, ruined cities and a handful of wooden artifacts pulled from a bog at the El Manatí site. La Venta sustained the Olmec cultural traditions with spectacular displays of power and wealth. Olmec carvers had complete mastery over the difficult miniature medium and they created the most exceptional jade artworks by any Mesoamerican culture.
The most important god for the Olmecs was a mixture of man and jaguar. Its true, some see the statue heads as Black African, but that is superficial. The Olmec were clearly interested in color and color schemes of the environment. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 102 32 :11219-11223. Nearly everything we know about the Olmec has been discovered and pieced together by archaeologists.
In general, this group was not directly engaged in agriculture or harvesting. This double function gave them enormous influence over the settlements of their people. The was the largest Mesoamerican structure of its time. This environment may be compared to that of other ancient centers of civilization: the , , and valleys, and. When Jose Melgar first discovered one of the colossal heads built by the Olmec, he immediately supposed that his find was evidence of ancient contact between Africa and ancient inhabitants of the Americas.
Sun glyph iconography is seen on many locations and there is an undeniable importance of in dietary and ritual contexts. San Lorenzo is characterized by being a fertile area, where the haciendas abounded. The Aztecs considered them so skilled that they named their own jewelry makers and metal workers 'tolteca'. The Olmec used obsidian in many tools because worked edges were very sharp and durable. While the Olmec were not the first in Mesoamerica to organize long-distance exchanges of goods, the Olmec period saw a significant expansion in interregional trade routes, more variety in material goods exchanged and a greater diversity in the sources from which the base materials were obtained.
The last object, which displays 465 glyphs, greatly the interpretation of the epi-Olmec language, though many questions remain. It became a great center of marketing and fishing. Greenstone jadeite, serpentine, schist, gneiss, green quartz , played a clearly important role in elite contexts at Olmec sites. They were the first Mesoamerican civilization, and laid many of the foundations for the civilizations that followed. As the Olmec ruler was believed to be the most important axis in the world centre, it has been suggested that the mask represented an Olmec ruler. A modest temple may have been associated with the larger villages. Despite the wide range of hunting and fishing available, surveys in San Lorenzo have found that the domesticated dog was the single most plentiful source of animal protein.
The purpose of the objects changed as well. Others are skeptical because of the stone's singularity, the fact that it had been removed from any archaeological context, and because it bears no apparent resemblance to any other. These cities were not very large, as they only housed a few thousand people. It must have taken countless man-hours to complete. Little is known about the ways of political and social structure within both the Olmec and Chavin civilizations.