The Olmecs studied astronomy and developed a system of writing and mathematics. They were the first Mesoamerican culture to build pyramids. Their calendar and religious beliefs appear to have influenced later cultures. In fact, many scholars call the Olmecs the “mother culture” of Mesoamerica.
What are facts about the Olmec?
The Olmec Civilization was one of the most influential ancient civilizations of the early Americas, and though its dominance of the region faded in the last centuries before the Common Era, the Olmec civilization is commonly thought to be the “mother culture” of many other cultures that appeared in the region in later
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
It is not known what name the ancient Olmec used for themselves; some later Mesoamerican accounts seem to refer to the ancient Olmec as ” Tamoanchan”. A contemporary term sometimes used for the Olmec culture is tenocelome, meaning “mouth of the jaguar”.
Mesoamerica is considered one of the six sites around the globe in which civilization developed independently and indigenously. This civilization is considered the mother culture of the Mesoamerican civilizations.
A mother culture is a term for an earlier people’s culture that has a great and widespread influence on some later cultures and people. Though the original culture may fade, the mother culture’s influence grows for ages in the future.
Often referred to as the “mother culture” of Mesoamerica, the Olmec were a lasting influence on Mesoamerican art, culture and civilization. And, like any good mom, their influence is clear in the subsequent, or epi-Olmec, cultures that came after them.
Some historians assert that the Mayans were the descendants of the Olmecs.
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.
To quickly sum up, the Maya were first but learned a lot from the Olmecs, who started 1,200 years later.
Linguistic evidence has contributed to the ethnic identity of the archaeological Olmecs: they spoke a Mixe-Zoquean language. The Olmecs produced the earliest complex civilization in Mesoamerica (c. 1200–400 bce), and it was located mainly in the same area where Mixe-Zoquean languages are found.
Olmec Food, Crops, and Diet They planted many of the same crops seen in the region today, such as squash, beans, manioc, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes. Maize was a staple of the Olmec diet, although it is possible that it was introduced late in the development of their culture.
A mother culture is a culture that created traditions that were passed on to other cultures that came after them. A sister culture is a culture that takes traditions from the civilizations around them and then passes their “patch-work” cultures onto succeeding civilizations later.
Like many early Mesoamerican cultures, the Olmec believed in three tiers of existence: the physical realm they inhabited, an underworld and a sky realm, home of most of the gods. Their world was bound together by the four cardinal points and natural boundaries such as rivers, the ocean and mountains.