The Olmecs created long-distance trade routes to obtain the things they needed, eventually making contacts all the way from the valley of Mexico to Central America. These extensive trade networks spread Olmec culture far and wide, spreading Olmec influence throughout Mesoamerica.
What are facts about the Olmec?
Contributions. The Olmecs were apparently the first Mesoamerican people to fathom the concept of zero, develop a calendar, and create a hieroglyphic writing system. Also, they are credited for the discovery of the first conduit drainage system known in the Americas.
In addition to their influence with contemporaneous Mesoamerican cultures, as the first civilization in Mesoamerica, the Olmecs are credited, or speculatively credited, with many “firsts”, including the bloodletting and perhaps human sacrifice, writing and epigraphy, and the invention of popcorn, zero and the
Legacy in Mesoamerica The Olmecs influenced the civilizations they came into contact with across Mesoamerica, particularly in sculpture in ceramic and jade and objects featuring Olmec imagery have been found at Teopantecuanitlan, 650 km distant from the Olmec heartland.
How did the physical environment influence the Olmec? The cold and dry climate promoted specialization. The tropical climate was poorly suited for farming. The location on the Central Mexican Plateau allowed for terrace farming.
Appearing around 1600 BCE, the Olmec were among the first Mesoamerican complex societies, and their culture influenced many later civilizations, like the Maya. The Olmec are known for the immense stone heads they carved from a volcanic rock called basalt.
How did the Olmecs influence later Mesoamerican civilizations? The Olmec ball game, religious concepts, blood sacrifice, calendar, writing, and astronomy was later used and adapted by other Mesoamerican civilizations. Plus, they laid the foundation for complex agricultural-based society in Mesoamerica.
They lived in the tropical lowlands of south-central Mexico, in the present-day states of Veracruz and Tabasco, and had their center in the city of La Venta. The Olmec flourished during Mesoamerica’s formative period, dating roughly from as early as 1500 BCE to about 400 BCE.
Olmec art lived on in ancient Mesoamerican aesthetic traditions as well. The sculptors and painters in Olmec-period Mexico were the first to portray many of the iconic features of self-proclaimed divine rulers in Mesoamerica.
How did the Olmecs and Maya influence the Aztec civilization in similar ways? The Aztecs used Olmec styles for temples and the Mayan calendar for rituals conducted in them. The Maya influence was more direct than that of the Olmecs because the Maya civilization thrived only a few hundred years before the Aztecs.
The Olmec were the most advanced civilization of their time, developing an early writing system, advanced stonework and complicated religious concepts before other contemporary societies. For this reason, the Olmec had a great influence on other developing Mesoamerican cultures with which they came into contact.
There is evidence that both the Maya and the Aztec were influenced by the Olmec. The name Olmec is an Aztec name for that civilization, since the real name is unknown. The Olmec were the first to build the pyramid style of temples in Mesoamerica, a style later used by the Aztec and the Maya.
Slash and burn agriculture also results in significant soil erosion and accompanying landslides, water contamination, and/ or dust clouds, as without trees and vegetation and their root systems, soil washes away during heavy rains and blows away during droughts.
The Olmec diet mainly consisted of squash, beans, manioc, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and maize.