San Lorenzo Tenochtitlán, place of the Olmec heads.
When were the Olmec heads of Mexico made?
To date, 17 colossal Olmec heads have been discovered in various locations associated with the ancient Olmec civilisations; ten (thought to be the oldest) were found in San Lorenzo, Veracruz, four in La Venta, Tabasco, two in Tres Zapotes, Veracruz and one in La Cobata.
The Olmec people are believed to have occupied a large part of modern-day Southern Mexico. The Olmec civilization is what is known as an archaeological culture. This means there is a collection of artifacts thought by archaeologists to represent a particular society.
The Olmec lived in south-central Mexico, with their center in La Venta in Tabasco. Little is known about Olmec religion, though scholars believe there were eight main deities.
La Venta, ancient Olmec settlement, located near the border of modern Tabasco and Veracruz states, on the gulf coast of Mexico. La Venta was originally built on an island in the Tonalá River; now it is part of a large swamp.
Seventeen Olmec colossal heads have been found: 10 at San Lorenzo, four at La Venta, two at Tres Zapotes and one at La Cobata.
The heads were each carved from a single basalt boulder which in some cases were transported 100 km or more to their final destination, presumably using huge balsa river rafts wherever possible and log rollers on land. The principal source of this heavy stone was Cerro Cintepec in the Tuxtla Mountains.
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.
The Olmec were American Indians, not Negroes (as Melgar had thought) or Nordic supermen.”
Who were the Olmec? The Olmec were the first major civilization in Mexico. They lived in the tropical lowlands on the Gulf of Mexico in the present-day Mexican states of Veracruz and Tabasco. The name Olmec is a Nahuatl—the Aztec language—word; it means the rubber people.
To quickly sum up, the Maya were first but learned a lot from the Olmecs, who started 1,200 years later.
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.
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.
La Venta is a treasure trove of Olmec art and sculpture. At least 90 stone monuments have been discovered there including some of the most important pieces of Olmec art. Four colossal heads – out of a total of seventeen known to exist – were discovered here.
Mexico’s Capital of Olmec Culture: Jalapa, near Veracruz, is known for its flowers and a modern museum of pre-Maya civilization.