The Olmec civilization, located in ancient Mexico, flourished in Pre-Classical (Formative) Mesoamerica from c. 1200 BCE come c. 400 BCE. Significant sacred complexes, massive rock sculptures, round games, the drinking of chocolate, and animal gods were all attributes of Olmec culture passed on to those individuals who adhered to this an initial great Mesoamerican civilization.

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With their heartlands in the Gulf that Mexico (now the principal of Veracruz y Tabasco), Olmec influence y trade activity spread from 1200 BCE, also reaching together far sur as present-day Nicaragua. Plenty of Olmec sites suffered systematic and deliberate destruction of your monuments at some point between cuatrocientos and 300 BCE.

The Olmec Enigma

The Olmec people presents miscellaneous of ns mystery, indeed, we execute not even know what they dubbed themselves, together Olmec was your Aztec name and meant "rubber people". Due to un lack of historical evidence their ethnic origins y the location y extent of countless of their negotiations are no known. The Olmecs did, however, codify y record their gods and religious methods using symbols. Los precise meaning of this document is much disputed but, at the very least, its complexity does imply some kind of organised religious beliefs involving uno priesthood. Los Olmec spiritual practices that sacrifice, cave rituals, pilgrimages, offerings, ball-courts, pyramids and a seeming awe of mirrors, was also passed on to all subsequent people in Mesoamerica until ns Spanish occupation in los 16th century CE.

Around 900 BCE La venta flourished as the new capital & at some point boasted a population of around 18,000.

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Olmec Cities

Olmec prosperity to be initially based upon exploiting the fertile and well-watered coastal areas of ns Gulf of Mexico to prosper such plants as corn and beans (often twice-yearly) which enabled for an agricultural surplus. Lock also, no doubt, gathered los plentiful lugares supply of plant food, palm nuts and sea-life, including turtles and clams. By c. Mil doscientos BCE significant ciudad de la ciudad centres arisen at smo Lorenzo (the earliest), La Venta, Laguna después los Cerros, numero 3 Zapotes y Las Limas. Smo Lorenzo reached its height of prosperity y influence between mil doscientos and novecientos BCE once its estrategia position safe from flooding allowed it to control local trade. Common Olmec trade goods consisted of obsidian, jade, serpentine, mica, rubber, pottery, feathers y polished winter of ilmenite and magnetite.

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Principal Olmec Settlements
Madman2001 (CC BY)

Evidence of smo Lorenzo"s high culture includes the presence of mound structures, possibly very early ball court, carved basalt drains through one of ns man-made mounds and the neto Palace structure con painted neto floors and workshops. Around novecientos BCE los site of smo Lorenzo displays evidence that systematic damage whilst La Venta, conversely, began to flourish, y becoming the nuevo capital, it eventually supported uno population of part 18,000.

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The numero 3 sites of smo Lorenzo, La Venta and Laguna del los Cerros all had a a dos bandas symmetry in their planning y at La Venta los first pyramid in Mesoamerica to be constructed. The is ns pre-meditated architectural layout of los religious centres of these settlements that is many striking, for example, in ~ La Venta los buildings are put symmetrically along uno north-south axis con four colossal heads facing outwards at key points, seemingly acting as guardians to los complex. Un huge ceremonial step pyramid (now ns shapeless mound), sunken plaza once lined with 2-metre high basalt columns, and two smaller pyramids/mounds administer features that would certainly be duplicated time and again at the major web page of later on Mesoamerican cultures with whom equal attention was paid to los precise alignment that buildings. La Venta, together with san Lorenzo, suffered systematic and deliberate destruction of that monuments sometime between 400 and 300 BCE.