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Olmec Civilization

The Olmec civilization is the name given to a sophisticated central American culture between 1200 and 400 BC.
  1. Latin American Archaeology

The Mesoamerican Ball Game
The Mesoamerican ball game is known from almost all civilizations in central America: and the first consistent imagery, including ball-playing costumes and paraphernalia is known from the San Lorenzo Horizon of the Olmec civilization, ca 1400-1000 BC.

Guide to the Olmec Civilization
This article provides an introduction to the Olmecs, one of the oldest civilizations in North America, their place in Central American prehistory, and some important facts about the people and how they lived.

Were-Jaguar: Olmec Civilization Iconic Art
The were-jaguar is an important iconographic symbol of the Olmec civilization, and many later civilizations in Central and North America.

The Mother-Sister Controversy in Mesoamerica
The mother-sister controversy in Mesoamerican archaeology is a scholarly debate over exactly how important the Olmec civilization was in the formation of central American cultures.

Cascajal Block
High resolution images of the Cascajal Block, an important artifact with examples of possibly Olmec writing from the Early Formative period.

The Olmec Civilization and the Use of Bitumen
Geoarchaeological research by Carl Wendt and Shan-Tan Lu has identified origin sources of bitumen used by the great Olmec civilization of the tropical lowlands of central America, 3000 years ago. The project, described by Olmec scholar David Grove as a “break-though in source analyzing bitumen in Mesoamerica”, may shed light on the vast trade networks throughout prehistoric North America.

Tamtoc Monolith 32: Olmec Connection in San Luis Potosi?
A carved stele (called Monument 32) from the Huastec site of Tamtoc and located in San Luis Potosi state in Mexico may have been a lunar calendar, made between 1150 and 900 BC; and researcher Guillermo Ahuja believes the stone's iconography resembles that of the Olmec.

San Lorenzo (Veracruz)
San Lorenzo is an important Olmec period capital in the state of Veracruz, Mexico. San Lorenzo was a central place, perhaps the central place in the larger Olmec world called San Lorenzo Tenochtitlan archaeological region.

The Olmec Capital of La Venta - History and Archaeology
The ancient city of La Venta was a major regional center of the Olmec civilization, despite being located in a wetland environment.

La Venta
Important Olmec culture site in the state of Tabasco, Mexico, La Venta was occupied between 1200-400 BC.

Tres Zapotes (Veracruz)
Tres Zapotes is an important Olmec site located in the south-central lowlands of the Gulf coast of Veracruz, Mexico, and the third most important Olmec site, after San Lorenzo and La Venta. The most important findings at Tres Zapotes are two iconic colossal heads and the famous stelae C.

El Remolino (Veracruz)
El Remolino is an Early Formative period (1200-900 B.C.), in the Coatzacoalcos river basin of Veracruz. Research at El Remolino revealed information about household and community activities and social organization outside the elite level.

Olmec Civilization (Mesoweb)
Mesoweb's page on the Olmec is excellent, including several pictures of the big snarling baby heads from San Lorenzo.

Search for the Lost Cave People
Information on the Xoque, and a few odds and ends from Maya and later Mesoamerican cultures, from Nova.

The New World Figurine Project
The New World Figurine Project is the brainchild of Terry Stocker, who in the mid-1980s began to collect articles--new and classic--on ceramic figurines of North, Central and South America.

Trivia Quiz: Olmec Civilization
What do you know about the sophisticated central American culture known as the Olmec? Give this quiz a spin and find out.

The Bas-Reliefs of Chalcatzingo
The site of Chalcatzingo, located in the Mexican state of Morelos, has over 40 carved monuments which reflect an eclectic cultural style with connections to gulf coast Olmec.

Chalcatzingo (Mexico)
Chalcatzingo, Morelos, the Mesoamerican Formative site

Olmec Heads
Olmec Heads, known more formally as Colossal Heads or Cabezas Colosales, are enormous three dimensional heads carved out of volcanic basalt about 3,000 years ago.

Chalcatzingo (Mexico)
Chalcatzingo was a small village and a regional center in Mexico's interior, with connections to the Olmec heartland some 300 kilometers to the east.

Complex A at La Venta - Ceremonial Court of the Olmec
Complex A at La Venta was the ceremonial center of the Olmec capital in the state of Tabasco, on the Gulf Coast of Mexico.

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