- The Olmec lived along the Gulf Coast of Mexico in the modern-day Mexican states of Tabasco and Veracruz.
- The Olmec society lasted from about 1600 BCE to around 350 BCE, when environmental factors made their villages unlivable.
- The Olmec are probably best known for the statues they carved: 20 ton stone heads, quarried and carved to commemorate their rulers.
- The name Olmec is an Aztec word meaning the rubber people; the Olmec made and traded rubber throughout Mesoamerica.
Who were the Olmec?
Trade and village life
- The Maize deity
- The Rain Spirit or Were-Jaguar
- The Fish or Shark Monster
Olmec colossal heads
The end of the Olmecs
What do you think?
- What do the colossal heads of the Olmec tell us about how their society was organized?
- Given that the Olmec worshiped anthropomorphic deities, do you think they believed their rulers were human beings?
- What kind of ecological disaster would have to take place in order to make your home unlivable?