advertisement

All You Need To Know About Olmec Civilization

Mesoamerica’s first significant civilisation was the Olmec Civilization. It thrived along Mexico’s Gulf coast between 1200 and 400 B.C. It is regarded as the “mother culture” of succeeding societies such as the Maya and Aztec. Many of the Olmec’s intellectual achievements were ultimately borrowed and developed by other cultures. Around 400 B.C., the great Olmec city of La Venta declined, taking with it the Olmec Classic era. Because this civilization fell two thousand years before the advent of the first Europeans in the region, no one knows for definite what events contributed to its demise.

advertisement

What Is Known About the Ancient Olmec?

The Aztec phrase for their descendants, who lived in Olman, or the “land of rubber,” inspired the name of the Olmec civilization. It is mostly known via studying its architecture and stone carvings. Despite the fact that the Olmec had a writing system, no Olmec books have survived to the present day.

Archaeologists have uncovered two great Olmec cities: San Lorenzo and La Venta, both in the modern Mexican states of Veracruz and Tabasco. The Olmec were skilled stonemasons who constructed temples and aqueducts. They were also great sculptors, creating magnificent enormous heads with no metal instruments. Olmec had their own religion, complete with priests and at least eight distinct gods. They were excellent traders with connections to contemporary tribes throughout Mesoamerica.

advertisement

The End of the Olmec Civilization

San Lorenzo and La Venta are two well-known Olmec cities. These are not the original names known to the Olmec; their names have been lost to time. San Lorenzo thrived on a vast island in a river from around 1200 to 900 B.C., when it declined and was surpassed in power by La Venta.

Around 400 B.C., La Venta began to decay and was eventually abandoned. The fall of La Venta signaled the end of traditional Olmec civilisation. Although the Olmecs’ ancestors still resided in the area, the civilisation itself had perished. The Olmecs’ enormous commerce networks disintegrated. Olmec-style jades, sculptures, and pottery with distinctly Olmec motifs were no longer produced.

advertisement

What Became of the Ancient Olmec?

Archaeologists are continuously gathering clues to solve the question of what led this great civilization to crumble. It was most likely a combination of natural environmental changes and human interventions. The Olmecs relied on a few crops for survival, including maize, squash, and sweet potatoes. Although they enjoyed a healthy diet with such a restricted number of foods, their reliance on them made them vulnerable to climate change. A volcanic eruption, for example, may cover a region in ash or alter the course of a river: such a disaster would have been terrible to the Olmec people. Less extreme climate changes, such as a drought, could have a significant impact on their preferred crops.

Human actions are also likely to have had a role: violence between the La Venta Olmecs and any of a number of local groups could have led to the society’s demise. Internal conflict is another possibility. Other human acts, such as over-farming or forest destruction for agriculture, could also have played a role.

Epi-Olmec Culture

Human actions are also likely to have had a role: violence between the La Venta Olmecs and any of a number of local groups could have led to the society’s demise. Internal conflict is another possibility. Other human acts, such as over-farming or forest destruction for agriculture, could also have played a role.

Tres Zapotes, Veracruz, was the most prominent Epi-Olmec city. Tres Zapotes was the most important city of its period, but never reaching the heights of San Lorenzo or La Venta. The Tres Zaptoes people did not create massive art on the scale of olossal heads or enormous Olmec thrones, but they were great sculptors who left behind numerous noteworthy pieces of art. They also produced significant advances in writing, astronomy, and calendrics.