What are the characteristics of the Olmecs?
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.
Monumental sacred complexes, massive stone sculptures, ball games, the drinking of chocolate, and animal gods were all features of Olmec culture passed on to those peoples who followed this first great Mesoamerican civilization.
The Olmecs are especially identified with 17 huge stone heads —ranging in height from 1.47 to 3.4 metres (4.82 to 11.15 feet)—with flat faces and full lips, wearing helmetlike headgear. It is generally thought that these are portraits of Olmec rulers.
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
What is known is that the Olmec produced some of the greatest Mesoamerican artworks including colossal sculpture in volcanic stone and intricate works in jade; they built the earliest known Mesoamerican pyramid; and laid the foundations for all subsequent Mesoamerican cultures such as the Maya and the Aztec.
While Olmec figurines are found abundantly in sites throughout the Formative period, monumental works of basalt sculpture, including colossal heads, altars, and seated figures are the most recognizable feature of this culture.
What did glyphs left by the ancient Olmec civilization tell us about their religious practices? They believed in many gods. Which works demonstrate that the Chavín civilization was highly organized?
The Olmec culture flourished in several civic and ceremonial centers along the Gulf of Mexico more than 3,000 years ago, from 1500 to 400 B.C. Best known for their carvings of colossal stone heads, the Olmec were masters of monumental sculpture, and also produced an array of other distinctive artworks in stone, ceramic
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.
What role did Monte Albán play in the development of cities in Mesoamerica? It was considered the largest socio-political and economic center in Mesoamerica for approximately 600 years. Which statement accurately describes the Zapotec city of Monte Albán? It included pyramids, tombs, and a ball field.
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.
The Olmec were American Indians, not Negroes (as Melgar had thought) or Nordic supermen.”
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.
La Venta, the centre of Olmec culture (c. 800–400 bce), contains one of the earliest pyramidal structures, a mound of earth and clay 100 feet (30 metres) high. Mesoamerican pyramids were generally earth mounds faced with stone.