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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
The Olmecs are considered the mother of all Mesoamerica civilizations, because many of the other features in other civilizations can be traced back to the Olmecs.
The Olmec were American Indians, not Negroes (as Melgar had thought) or Nordic supermen.”
The Epi-Olmec culture was a cultural area in the central region of the present-day Mexican state of Veracruz. Epi-Olmec was a successor culture to the Olmec, hence the prefix “epi-” or “post-“.
Olmec Cosmology 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.
What does Olmec mean? People from the land of rubber.
Scientists are typically split between two theories on the subject: Either the Maya developed directly from an older “mother culture” known as the Olmec, or they sprang into existence independently.
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.
Some of the most well-known Mesoamerican cultures are the Olmec, Maya, Zapotec, Teotihuacan, Mixtec, and Mexica (or Aztec).
Some historians assert that the Mayans were the descendants of the Olmecs.
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. The first evidence of their remarkable art style appears about 1200 bce in San Lorenzo, their oldest known building site.