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. The Olmec script is a logosyllabic script. The Olmec had both a syllabic and hieroglyphic script.
Did the Olmec have a written language?
Olmec hieroglyphs (alternatively Olmec glyphs, Olmec writing, or Olmec script) designate a possible system of writing or proto-writing developed within the Olmec culture. Direct evidence includes the appearance of individual (potential) glyphs as well as the singleton Cascajal Block that bears a potential text.
Several clues have long suggested that the Olmec civilization, which flourished from 1200 B.C. to 400 B.C., was the first to develop cultural traditions, including writing, later adopted by the Maya, who reigned from about A.D. 300 to 900.
Mesoamerica. A stone slab with 3,000-year-old writing, the Cascajal Block, was discovered in the Mexican state of Veracruz, and is an example of the oldest script in the Western Hemisphere, preceding the oldest Zapotec writing dated to about 500 BC.
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 authors of the report and principle researchers involved with its analysis concluded that it originated between 1100 and 900 BC, based on the fact that clay shards found around the block also date to this time.
Olmec writing It was also long thought that many of the glyphs present on Olmec monumental sculpture, such as those on the so-called ” Ambassador Monument” (La Venta Monument 13), represented an early Olmec script.
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.
It was based on 18 named months, each 20 days long, with a five day period to make a total 365.
The Olmec were the first major civilization in Mexico. 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.
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.
Centuries before the famously literate Maya, even before the Zapotecs, the Olmecs of ancient Mexico were carving symbols on stone and ceramics 2,600 years ago in what a team of archaeologists thinks is the earliest form of writing ever found in the New World.
The general consensus is that Sumerian was the first written language, developed in southern Mesopotamia around 3400 or 3500 BCE. At first, the Sumerians would make small tokens out of clay representing goods they were trading. Later, they began to write these symbols on clay tablets.
The Olmec were gifted artists who produced stone carvings, woodcarvings and cave paintings. They made carvings of all sizes, from tiny celts and figurines to massive stone heads.
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.
But archaeologists don’t know what transformed a society of farmers into the class-based social structure of the Olmec, with their leaders and commoners, bosses and laborers, artisans and priests. Diehl theorizes that it was population pressure and that as the pre-Olmec villages grew, they naturally stratified.