Olmec Colossal Stone Heads - Mexico Unexplained
Built by the Olmecs, the first major Mesoamerican civilization, it dates to between Teotihuacán also contains a smaller stepped, stone-covered temple-pyramid. The Olmec are known for the immense stone heads they carved from a The heads date from at least before BCE and are a distinctive feature of the Olmec. The Olmec colossal heads are stone representations of human heads sculpted from large basalt boulders. The heads date from at least BC and are a distinctive feature of the .. a horizontal band tied at the back of the head; this is decorated with three bird's heads that are located above the forehead and temples.
The mask would presumably have been about 2, years old when the Aztec buried it, suggesting such masks were valued and collected as were Roman antiquities in Europe. This sharp cleft is associated with the natural indented head of Jaguars.
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The Olmec | Ancient civilizations (article) | Khan Academy
December Learn how and when to remove this template message The Kunz axes also known as "votive axes" are figures that represent werejaguars and were apparently used for rituals. In most cases, the head is half the total volume of the figure. All Kunz axes have flat noses and an open mouth. The name "Kunz" comes from George Frederick Kunzan American mineralogistwho described a figure in Olmec influences on Mesoamerican cultures The major Formative Period Pre-Classic Era sites in present-day Mexico which show Olmec influences in the archaeological record.
Olmec-style artifacts, designs, figurines, monuments and iconography have been found in the archaeological records of sites hundreds of kilometres outside the Olmec heartland. Chalcatzingoin Valley of Moreloscentral Mexico, which features Olmec-style monumental art and rock art with Olmec-style figures.
Olmec Colossal Stone Heads
Also, inarchaeologists unearthed Zazacatlaan Olmec-influenced city in Morelos. Located about 25 miles 40 kilometers south of Mexico City, Zazacatla covered about one square mile 2.
Also, the Juxtlahuaca and Oxtotitlan cave paintings feature Olmec designs and motifs. Nature of interaction[ edit ] Many theories have been advanced to account for the occurrence of Olmec influence far outside the heartland, including long-range trade by Olmec merchants, Olmec colonization of other regions, Olmec artisans travelling to other cities, conscious imitation of Olmec artistic styles by developing towns — some even suggest the prospect of Olmec military domination or that the Olmec iconography was actually developed outside the heartland.
The inert were-jaguar baby held by the central figure is seen by some as an indication of child sacrifice. In contrast, its sides show bas-reliefs of humans holding quite lively were-jaguar babies. Although the archaeological record does not include explicit representation of Olmec bloodletting researchers have found other evidence that the Olmec ritually practiced it.Maya Civilization and it's Legend - Full Documentary
For example, numerous natural and ceramic stingray spikes and maguey thorns have been found at Olmec sites,  and certain artifacts have been identified as bloodletters. Scholars have not determined how the infants met their deaths. Cascajal block The Olmec may have been the first civilization in the Western Hemisphere to develop a writing system.
A large number of prominent archaeologists have hailed this find as the "earliest pre-Columbian writing". The glyphs surrounding the date are one of the few surviving examples of Epi-Olmec script.
History of zero The Long Count calendar used by many subsequent Mesoamerican civilizations, as well as the concept of zeromay have been devised by the Olmecs. Because the six artifacts with the earliest Long Count calendar dates were all discovered outside the immediate Maya homeland, it is likely that this calendar predated the Maya and was possibly the invention of the Olmecs.
Indeed, three of these six artifacts were found within the Olmec heartland.
Olmec colossal heads - Wikipedia
This is one of the earliest uses of the zero concept in history. For example, in Michael D. Coe speculated that the Olmec were Mayan predecessors. The spread of this vocabulary particular to their culture accompanied the diffusion of other Olmec cultural and artistic traits that appears in the archaeological record of other Mesoamerican societies. This implied the loanword transmission occurred in the period after the two branches of the language family split, placing the time of the borrowings outside of the Olmec period.
Olmec religion Olmec Chief or King. Olmec religious activities were performed by a combination of rulers, full-time priests, and shamans.
The rulers seem to have been the most important religious figures, with their links to the Olmec deities or supernaturals providing legitimacy for their rule. Appearing around 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. Archaeological evidence also suggests that they originated the Mesoamerican practices of the Mesoamerican Ballgame—a popular game in the pre-Columbian Americas played with balls made from solid rubber—and that they may have practiced ritual bloodletting.
Trade and village life There are no written records of Olmec commerce, beliefs, or customs, but from the archaeological evidence, it appears they were not economically confined. In fact, Olmec artifacts have been found across Mesoamerica, indicating that there were extensive interregional trade routes.
The presence of artifacts made from jade, a semiprecious green stone; obsidian, a glassy, black volcanic rock; and other stones provides evidence for trade with peoples outside the Gulf Coast of Mexico: The Olmec period saw a significant increase in the length of trade routes, the variety of goods, and the sources of traded items. The yellow dots represent Olmec settlements, and the red dots represent archaeological finds. These Spanish place names are modern; we don't know what the Olmec names for these places were.
A map of the Olmec heartland. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons. These cities, however, were used predominantly for ceremonial purposes and elite activity; most people lived in small villages.
Individual homes had a lean-to—sort of like a garage shed—and a storage pit for storing root vegetables nearby. They also likely had gardens in which the Olmec would grow medicinal herbs and small crops, like sunflowers. A photograph of the Great Pyramid in La Venta on a partly cloudy day. The pyramid takes up most of the image and there is a small tree with green leaves on the left-hand side.
Mostly dead, brown grass covers the pyramid but there are patches of green at the bottom. Great Pyramid in La Venta, Tabasco. Most agriculture took place outside of the villages in fields cleared using slash-and-burn techniques.
The Olmec likely grew crops such as maize, beans, squash, manioc, sweet potatoes, and cotton. Religion There are no direct written accounts of Olmec beliefs, but their notable artwork provide clues about their life and religion. Photograph of a stone carving.
A chief wears an elaborate headdress and carries a weapon. His face has been worn down over time so features are not discernible. Surviving art, like this relief of a king or chief found in La Venta, help provide clues about how Olmec society functioned.
There were eight different androgynous—possessing male and female characteristics—Olmec deities, each with its own distinct characteristics. For example, the Bird Monster was depicted as a harpy eagle associated with rulership.
The Olmec Dragon was shown with flame eyebrows, a bulbous nose, and bifurcated tongue. Deities often represented a natural element and included the following: Art The Olmec culture was defined and unified by a specific art style.
Pyramids in Latin America
Crafted in a variety of materials—jade, clay, basalt, and greenstone, which is an archaeologist's term for carved, green-colored minerals—much Olmec art is naturalistic. Other art expresses fantastic anthropomorphic—human-shaped—creatures, often highly stylized, using an iconography reflective of a religious meaning.
Common motifs include downturned mouths and cleft headsboth of which are seen in representations of were-jaguars and the rain deity.