Typical Olmec trade goods included obsidian, jade, serpentine, mica, rubber, pottery, feathers and polished mirrors of ilmenite and magnetite.
Ancient Olmec Trade and Economy – ThoughtCo
Why was trade important to Olmec civilization? It helped bust its economy and spread its influence. Which city became the hallmark of Mesoamerican civilizations?
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.
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”). Cacao, originating from the Maya word “Ka’kau”, held great religious, commercial, and even medicinal value for the Maya.
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.
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 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
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
The Olmec were American Indians, not Negroes (as Melgar had thought) or Nordic supermen.”
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.
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.
There were many jobs that were specialized by the Olmecs.
How did Olmec people provide for their needs? They were farmers. They grew corns, beans, squash. They also hunted and fished.
The Aztec, Olmec, and Maya of Mesoamerica are known to have made rubber using natural latex—a milky, sap-like fluid found in some plants. Some of the rubber came out more bouncy, suggesting it may have been used to make balls for the legendary Mesoamerican ball games.