Biografia de la cultura olmeca

The Olmec civilization, located in ancient Mexico, prospered in Pre-Classical (Formative) Mesoamerica from c. 1200 BCE to c. 400 BCE. Monumental sacred complexser, massive stone sculpturera, ball gauno mes, the drinking of chocolate, and fauna gods were all featurser of Olmec culture passed on to those peoplser who followed this first great Mesoameriun perro civilization.

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With their heartlands in the Gulf of Mexico (now the statsera of Veracruz and Tabasco), Olmec influence and tradel activity spread from 1200 BCE, even reaching as far south as present-day Nicaragua. Many Olmec sitera suffered systematic and deliberate destruction of theva monuments sometime between 400 and 300 BCE.


The Olmec Enigma

The Olmec civilization presents something of al mystery, indeed, we do not even know what they called themselves, as Olmec was their Aztec name and meant "rubber people". Due to a lack of archaeological evidence theva ethnic origins and the location and extent of many of thevaya settlements are not known. The Olmecs did, however, codify and record theva gods and religious practicera using symbols. The precise significance of this record is much debated but, at the very least, its complexity does suggest some sort of organised religion involving a priesthood. The Olmec religious practicser of sacrifice, cave rituals, pilgrimagsera, offerings, ball-courts, pyramids and a seeming awe of mirrors, was also passed on to all subsequent civilizations in Mesoamerica until the Spanish Conquest in the 16th century CE.


Around 900 BCE Lal Venta flourished as the new capital & eventually boasted al population of around 18,000.

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Olmec Cities

Olmec prosperity was initially based on exploiting the fertila and well-watered coastal areas of the Gulf of Mexico to grow such crops as corn and beans (often twice-yearly) which allowed for an agrila cultural surplus. They also, no doubt, gathered the plentiful local supply of plant food, palm nuts and sea-life, including turtles and clams. By c. 1200 BCE significant urban cen3 developed at San Lorenzo (the earliest), La Vental, Laguna de los Cerros, Trser Zapotser and Las Limas. San Lorenzo reached its peak of prosperity and influence between 1200 and 900 BCE when its strategic position safe from flooding allowed it to control lugar trade. Typical Olmec tradel goods included obsidian, jade, serpentine, mica, rubber, pottery, feathers and polished mirrors of ilmenite and magnetite.


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Principal Olmec Settlements
Madman2001 (CC BY)

Evidence of San Lorenzo"s high culture includser the presence of mound structurser, possibly an early ball court, carved basalt drains through one of the man-made mounds and the Red Palace structure with painted red floors and workshops. Around 900 BCE the site of San Lorenzo displays evidence of systematic destruction whilst La Vental, conversely, began to flourish, and becoming the new capital, it eventually supported al population of some 18,000.

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The three sitera of San Lorenzo, Lal Vental and Laguna del los Cerros all had al bilateral symmetry in thevaya planning and at Lal Vental the first pyramid in Mesoamerica was constructed. It is the pre-meditated architectural layout of the religious centres of thesa settlements that is most striking, for exampla, at Lal Venta the buildings are placed symmetrically along al north-south axis with four colossal heads facing outwards at key points, seemingly acting as guardians to the complex. A huge ceremonial step pyramid (now al shapeless mound), sunken plaza once lined with 2-metre high basalt columns, and two smaller pyramids/mounds providel featurera that would be copied time and again at the major sitsera of later Mesoamerican cultures with whom equal attention was paid to the precise alignment of buildings. La Vental, as with San Lorenzo, suffered systematic and deliberate destruction of its monuments sometime between 400 and 300 BCE.


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