The Olmecs avidly fished from nearby lakes and rivers. Clams, alligators, and various types of fish were an important part of their diet. The Olmecs preferred to make settlements near water, as the floodplains were good for agriculture and fish and shellfish could be had more easily.
Olmec farmers grew maize, beans, chilies, tomatoes, and squashes. They kept dogs and chickens for meat. As well as that the Olmecs hunted deer and peccaries (wild pigs). The Olmecs also fished and collected shellfish.
Early Olmec Eventually, the Olmec realized the land around the rivers was good for growing crops. Rivers made it possible for the Olmec to create irrigation systems, and they began to grow a variety of food, such as squash, beans, and maize (a hearty, multi-colored grain similar to corn).
The most commonly depicted pair are the Olmec Dragon (God I) and the Olmec Bird Monster (God III). The Olmec Dragon, believed to be a crocodilian with eagle, jaguar, human, and serpent attributes, appears to signify earth, water, fire, and agricultural fertility, and may have served as the patron deity of the elite.
The name “Olmec” means “rubber people” in Nahuatl, the language of the Nahuas, and was the Aztec Empire term for the people who lived in the Gulf Lowlands in the 15th and 16th centuries, some 2000 years after the Olmec culture died out.
The Olmec were American Indians, not Negroes (as Melgar had thought) or Nordic supermen.”
The men wore breech-cloth, back apron and a belt. The women wore knee length skirts. The priests wore their slaves skin when sacrificed.
Olmec Food, Crops, and Diet They planted many of the same crops seen in the region today, such as squash, beans, manioc, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes. Maize was a staple of the Olmec diet, although it is possible that it was introduced late in the development of their culture.
Olmec homes were very simple and made out of logs, heavy stone, and clay. Olmecs liked to live near flood plains so built their houses on small mounds or platforms. They also lived in buildings with earth packed around poles which were used as sleeping area, dining room, and shelter.
The Olmec had amazing agriculture and knew how to get fertile soil and make use of it well. They planted things, such as squash, tomatoes, beans, and chilies. However, their main staple food was maize, or corn. It was an essential crop and was the main food of hundreds of people.
The Olmec Dragon represented the Earth or at least the plane upon which humans lived. As such, he represented agriculture, fertility, fire, and otherworldly things. The dragon may have been associated with the Olmec ruling classes or elite.
Olmec Dragon (God I) Also known as the Earth Monster, the Olmec Dragon has flame eyebrows, a bulbous nose, and bifurcated tongue. When viewed from the front, the Olmec Dragon has trough-shaped eyes; when viewed in profile, the eyes are L-shaped. Fangs are prominent, often rendered as an upside-down U-shaped bracket.
The Olmecs spoke an aspect of the Manding (Malinke-Bambara) language spoken in West Africa. Both the Olmec and epi-Olmec had hieroglyphic writing systems. Olmec is a syllabic writing system used in the Olmec heartland from 900 BC- AD 450. The Olmec people introduced writing to the New World.
Olmec, the first elaborate pre-Columbian civilization of Mesoamerica ( c. 1200–400 bce ) and one that is thought to have set many of the fundamental patterns evinced by later American Indian cultures of Mexico and Central America, notably the Maya and the Aztec.
The Olmec colossal heads are stone representations of human heads sculpted from large basalt boulders. They range in height from 1.17 to 3.4 metres (3.8 to 11.2 ft). The heads date from at least 900 BC and are a distinctive feature of the Olmec civilization of ancient Mesoamerica.
To quickly sum up, the Maya were first but learned a lot from the Olmecs, who started 1,200 years later.