The village Olmec resided in a region of Mexican territory during the so-called Mesoamerican preclassic period . Is old civilization it was developed especially in areas that today belong to the states of Tabasco and Veracruz .
Archaeologists believe that the Olmecs lived between the years 1,200 and 400 B.C. The vestiges found allow to infer that they had three large ceremonial centers, known as Three Zapotes , The sale and San Lorenzo .
Three Zapotes It was the most recent, when civilization was already in decline. San Lorenzo Instead, it was the first Olmec ceremonial center. Between them, there was the most important center: The sale , where it is believed that they lived about 18,000 Olmecs. It is important to note that, beyond the Mexican soil, they have found vestiges Olmecs in countries like Belize , Nicaragua , Honduras , The Savior and Guatemala .
Among the achievements attributed to this town, it is estimated that they constituted the first American culture to develop writing through glyphs and in developing epigraphy (technique used to make inscriptions on hard materials, such as metal or rock). On the other hand, the Olmecs created their own calendars to measure and represent the weather . This speculation is based on the fact that the Olmecs were the first civilization based in Mesoamerica.
Until 2002, there was a series of epigraphic inscriptions of considerable length that were made between 300 BC. and 530 A.D. However, later discoveries expanded the collection with inscriptions dating from much more remote dates, being 900 BC. the most distant year, which served as a test to dethrone the writing Zapotec as the oldest in the Americas.
Some scholars of the culture Olmec have ensured that certain inscriptions relate the life of a ruler, although this has not been approved unanimously at the international level. John Justeson and Terrence Kaufman, two linguists who spent years working to decipher the Olmec language, came in 1994 to conclude that it was a mixe-zoque language, predecessor of the proto-zoque and relatively related to the proto- mixe, the three belonging to the mixe-zoqueana linguistic family, a series of languages spoken in the isthmus of Tehuantepec, western Chiapas and the Sierra de Juárez.
Another peculiarity of the Olmecs is the complexity of their art . Researchers have not yet been able to determine the origin or purpose of sculptures shaped like Giant head They were created in Olmec times. According to certain experts, these sculptures honor chiefs or warriors; 17 copies have been found so far, which are currently distributed between the Parque Venta Museum and the Anthropology Museum of Xalapa. It is worth mentioning that there are many other objects of great interest that are being studied.
One of the most striking features of the Olmec heads is its marked black appearance, which has raised more than one hypothesis that pointed to contacts with inhabitants on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, although these were rejected given the lack of evidence of technology to build boats capable of interoceanic travel in such remote times. Opposite to this theory is the possible idealization of traits, rather than a faithful representation of humans. As a curious fact, these sculptures were found underground, something that supports the idea that they were tributes to bosses after his death.
Refering to religion , the Olmecs believed in a multiplicity of gods (they were, therefore, polytheists ) and worshiped water, sun and other natural elements. One of its main gods was the Jaguar , which is portrayed in many works found by archaeologists.