The first olmec ceremonial center arose about 1200bce on the site of the modern town of San Lorenzo and it served as their capital for some four hundred years. Olmec society was probably authoritarian in nature.
What were the ceremonial centers of the Olmecs?
Olmec society was probably authoritarian in nature. Untold thousands of laborers participated in the construction of the ceremonial centers at San Lorenzo, La Venta, and Tres Zapotes. Each of the principal Olmec sites featured an elaborate complex of temples, pyramids, altars, stone sculptures, and tombs for rulers.
[MC] In Mesoamerica, ceremonial centres represent one interpretation for the main form of urban site, especially in the Olmec and Maya civilizations. Each centre typically comprises monumental religious buildings and temples, administrative buildings, ball‐courts, and residential compounds used by the nobility.
The principal Olmec ceremonial centers were San Lorenzo, La Venta, and Tres Zapotes (trays sah-POE-tayz). To visualize these locations, one can imagine the Olmec lands as a big triangle with one point facing downward.
This contributed to social classes developing as society became more complex.
A large ceremonial center was spotted at the early Olmec site called San Lorenzo, which is located in Veracruz in the lowlands near the Gulf of Mexico and was at its peak from roughly 1400-1000 BC.
Its approximately 80 pyramidal mounds were built from earth and clay faced with river boulders. A large number of carved stone stelae have been found at Izapa, almost all of which date to the Late Formative and Proto-Classic.
The earliest known ceremonial centers of the ancient Americas appeared on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, the Olmecs.
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.
Preclassic/Formative The first complex civilization to develop in Mesoamerica was that of the Olmec, who inhabited the gulf coast region of Veracruz throughout the Preclassic period. The main sites of the Olmec include San Lorenzo Tenochtitlán, La Venta, and Tres Zapotes.
The Olmecs lived in hot, humid lowlands along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico in what is now southern Veracruz and Tabasco states in southern Mexico.
Among their many accomplishments, Olmecs created the first cities in North America. Many archeological sites are known for this culture, but only two were large and splendid enough to qualify as cities: San Lorenzo and La Venta.
What two large centers did the Olmec construct? The Olmec built several important centers, including: San Lorenzo and La Venta.
Laguna de los Cerros, adjacent to the Tuxtlas mountains, is positioned near important sources of basalt, a stone needed to manufacture manos, metates, and monuments. Perhaps marriage alliances between Olmec centers helped maintain such an exchange network.
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.
Olmec Trade and Commerce The Olmecs created long-distance trade routes to obtain the things they needed, eventually making contacts all the way from the valley of Mexico to Central America. These extensive trade networks spread Olmec culture far and wide, spreading Olmec influence throughout Mesoamerica.