New evidences of early human habitation are constantly being found, a few sites have produced dates of human habitation as early as 50, years ago and more.
It has been calculated that the largest heads weigh between 25 and 55 short tons 50 t. The heads were carved from single blocks or boulders of volcanic basalt, found in the Tuxtlas Mountains.
The Tres Zapotes heads, for example, were sculpted from basalt found at the summit of Cerro el Vigia, at the western end of the Tuxtlas.
The San Lorenzo and La Venta heads, on the other hand, were likely carved from the basalt of Cerro Cintepec, on the southeastern side, perhaps at the nearby Llano del Jicaro workshop, and dragged or floated to their final destination dozens of miles away.
It has been estimated that moving a colossal head required the efforts of 1, people for three to four months.
It is known that some monuments, and at least two heads, were recycled or recarved, but it is not known whether this was simply due to the scarcity of stone or whether these actions had The olmecs or other connotations.
It is also suspected that some mutilation had significance beyond mere destruction, but some scholars still do not rule out internal conflicts or, less likely, invasion as a factor. Almost all of these colossal heads bear the same features, flattened nose, wide lips, and capping headpiece, possible features of the Olmec warrior-kings.
These characteristics have caused some debate due to their apparent resemblance to African facial characteristics. Based on this comparison, some have insisted that the Olmecs were Africans who had emigrated to the New World. However, claims of pre-Columbian contacts with Africa are rejected by the vast majority of archeologists and other Mesoamerican scholars.
Explanations for the facial features of the colossal heads include the possibility that the heads were carved in this manner due to the shallow space allowed on the basalt boulders. Others note that in addition to the broad noses and thick lips, the heads have the Asian eye-fold, and that all these characteristics can still be found in modern Mesoamerican Indians.
In addition, the African origin hypothesis assumes that Olmec carving was intended to be realistic, an assumption that is hard to justify given the full corpus of representation in Olmec carving.
This head dates from to BCE and is 2. Monuments were also an important characteristic of Olmec centers. Today they provide us with some idea of the nature of Olmec ideology.
The colossal heads are commanding portraits of individual Olmec rulers, and the large symbol displayed on the 'helmet' of each colossal head appears to be an identification motif for that person. Colossal heads glorified the rulers while they were alive, and commemorated them as revered ancestors after their death.
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.
Altars were actually the thrones of Olmec rulers. The carving on the front of the throne shows the identified ruler sitting in a niche that symbolizes a cave entrance to the supernatural powers of the underworld.
That scene communicated to the people their ruler's association with cosmological power Notable Innovations 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 zero and the Mesoamerican calendar, and the Mesoamerican ballgame, as well as perhaps the compass.
Some researchers, including artist and art historian Miguel Covarrubias, even postulate that the Olmecs formulated the forerunners of many of the later Mesoamerican deities. Bloodletting and Sacrifice Although there is no explicit representation of Olmec bloodletting in the archaeological record, there is nonetheless a strong case that the Olmecs ritually practiced it.
Numerous natural and ceramic stingray spikes and maguey thorns, for example, have been found at Olmec sites, and certain artifacts have been identified as bloodletters.
The argument that the Olmecs instituted human sacrifice is significantly more speculative.The Olmecs studied astronomy and developed a system of writing and mathematics. They were the first Mesoamerican culture to build pyramids. Their calendar and .
Olmec: Olmec, the first elaborate pre-Columbian civilization of Mesoamerica (c. – bce) and one that is thought to have set many of the fundamental patterns evinced by later American Indian cultures of Mexico and Central America, notably the Maya and the Aztec.
The Nahuatl (Aztec) name for these. Metal Keychains - Masterwin have built our reputation in the gifts and premium skybox2008.com services,quality products and competitive prices are the cornerstones of our business.
History of Mexican Art Mexican art history begins with early peoples, such as the Olmecs, Incans, Mayans and skybox2008.com early artists produced works . Olmec Civilization.
The first signs of complex society in Mesoamerica were the Olmecs an ancient Pre-Columbian civilization living in the tropical lowlands of south-central Mexico, in what are roughly the modern-day states of Veracruz and Tabasco.
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