Typical Olmec trade goods included obsidian, jade, serpentine, mica, rubber, pottery, feathers and polished mirrors of ilmenite and magnetite.
Their merchants traded for many things, including raw stone material such as basalt, obsidian, serpentine and jadeite, commodities such as salt, and animal products such as pelts, bright feathers, and seashells.
Trading helped the Olmec build their urban centers of San Lorenzo and La Venta. These cities, however, were used predominantly for ceremonial purposes and elite activity; most people lived in small villages. The Olmec likely grew crops such as maize, beans, squash, manioc, sweet potatoes, and cotton.
Why was trade important to Olmec civilization? It helped bust its economy and spread its influence. Which city became the hallmark of Mesoamerican civilizations?
A Maya glyph of a cloth bag “xiquipilli’ that kept 8,000 cacao beans, a standard measure of unit of currency. While the Olmecs were the likely the first civilization to consumer cacao, the use of cocoa beans as commodity money began with the Maya (“The True History of Chocolate”).
The Olmec created massive monuments, including colossal stone heads, thrones, stela (upright slabs), and statues. They may have been the originators of the Mesoamerican ball game, a ceremonial team sport played throughout the region for centuries.
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
What was the role of trade in the Olmec civilization? Trading helped the Olmec civilization prosper and spread influence. What were some important Zapotec contributions to later cultures?
The Olmec people discovered and made use of many natural resources in the area, including rubber and corn. Dozens of mysterious stone heads were discovered in the Olmec territory as well; archaeologists are still not sure what their purposes were.
Olmec Tools In spite of only having Stone Age technology, the Olmecs were able to make several sorts of tools which made their life easier. They used whatever was at hand, such as clay, stone, bone, wood or deer antlers. They were skilled at making pottery: vessels and plates used for storing and cooking food.
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
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 do we know the Olmecs were technologically advanced? They used latex from trees to create rubber.
How did Olmec people provide for their needs? They were farmers. They grew corns, beans, squash. They also hunted and fished.
The key to the Olmecs’ rise appears to have been a strong, centralized monarchy. The colossal heads, each one depicting a particular individual, are likely portraits of the Olmec kings who ruled from ornate palaces at San Lorenzo and La Venta.
The End of the Olmec Civilization Around 400 B.C. La Venta went into decline and was eventually abandoned altogether. With the fall of La Venta came the end of classic Olmec culture. Although the descendants of the Olmecs still lived in the region, the culture itself vanished.