The Olmecs were the first complex civilization in Mesoamerica. They built the first ceremonial centers, developed a distinct culture, and traded with other peoples. They had classes of commoners, priests, and nobles. Plus, they laid the foundation for complex agricultural-based society in Mesoamerica.
What did the Olmecs do for Mesoamerica?
The Olmec influenced the Maya with their trading routes by spreading the culture far through Mesoamerica.
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 may have given Mesoamerica its first written language as well. Undecipherable designs on certain pieces of Olmec stonework may be early glyphs: later societies, such as the Maya, would have elaborate languages using glyphic writing and would even develop books.
The ancient Maya built their civilization using ideas they learned from the Olmec, an earlier tribe. The Olmec society was built on agriculture. They established farming villages. They were the first people to built roads through the jungle, roads which were used by them as trade routes.
Olmec Art. The most striking legacy of the Olmec civilization must be the colossal stone heads they produced. These were carved in basalt and all display unique facial features so that they may be considered portraits of actual rulers.
They were the first Mesoamerican civilization, and laid many of the foundations for the civilizations that followed. Among other “firsts”, the Olmec appeared to practice ritual bloodletting and played the Mesoamerican ballgame, hallmarks of nearly all subsequent Mesoamerican societies.
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.
What was one characteristic unique to Olmec culture? A hieroglyphic writing system and a calendar system based on the movement of the sun. Also noted as America’s first city builders.
The end of the Olmecs The Olmec population declined sharply between 400 and 350 BCE, though it is unclear why. Archaeologists speculate that the depopulation was caused by environmental changes, specifically by the silting-up of rivers, which choked off the water supply.
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.
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.
What does Olmec mean? People from the land of rubber.