Presentation on theme: "Olmec. Olmec Civilization Mesoamerica’s “mother culture” 1200 B.C.E. in southern Mexico near the Gulf Coast hot & humid and covered with swamps and jungle."— Presentation transcript:
Mesoamerica’s “mother culture” 1200 B.C.E. in southern Mexico near the Gulf Coast hot & humid and covered with swamps and jungle –100 in of rainfall –flooding Abundant deposits of salt, tar, clay, rubber, and stone
Olmec Civilization Rivers= routes for transportation Flood plains =fertile land for farming Built thriving communities – oldest site is San Lorenzo 1150 B.C. San Lorenzo had large mounds, courtyards, pyramids and stone monuments
Olmec Civilization Buildings/Monuments included columns, altars, sculpted heads (heads may have represented particular rulers and could weigh as much as 44 tons). Question: How could the Olmec transport such heavy monuments without use of the wheel?
Olmec Civilization Olmec prayed to a variety of nature gods (animist) Worshipped the jaguar spirit –a powerful rain god –Others believe there were several jaguar gods that represented the earth, fertility, and maize (major crop)
Ceremonial centers where important rituals were performed Prosperous people that directed a large trading network throughout Mesoamerica –Goods traveled as far as Mexico City to the north and Honduras to the south –Iron ore and stones transported from faraway regions
Olmec Civilization Olmec Civilization collapsed –Some experts speculate that outside invaders caused the destruction –Others believe that the Olmec may have destroyed their own monuments upon death of their rulers
Olmec Contributions Influenced the Maya Art styles and jaguar motif seen in pottery and sculpture Copied urban design Ball games No evidence of writing but stone symbols related to glyphs