Olmec heartland

Olmec heartland
The Olmec heartland. The yellow dots represent ancient habitation sites, while the red dots represent isolated artifact finds unassociated with any ancient town or village.
""The Wrestler", an Olmec era statuette, 1200 - 800 BCE.. Art historian George Kubler finds that "the spiraling motion of the body, the multiplicity of profile, the coherent muscles, and the expressive restraint of the work set it apart as among the great works of sculpture of all ages".[1] Michael Coe finds it "one of the supreme examples of Olmec art".[2]

The Olmec heartland is the southern portion of Mexico's Gulf Coast region between the Tuxtla mountains and the Olmec archaeological site of La Venta, extending roughly 80 km (50 mi) inland from the Gulf of Mexico coastline at its deepest. It is today, as it was during the height of the Olmec civilization, a tropical lowland forest environment, crossed by meandering rivers.

Most researchers consider the Olmec heartland to be the home of the Olmec culture which became widespread over Mesoamerica from 1400 BCE until roughly 400 BCE. The area is also referred to as Olman or the Olmec Metropolitan Zone.[3]

The major heartland sites are:

Smaller sites include:

Important heartland finds not associated with any archaeological site include:

See also


  1. ^ Kubler, p. 133.
  2. ^ Coe (1989) p. 78.
  3. ^ See Diehl.
  • Coe, Michael D. (1989) "The Olmec Heartland: Evolution of Ideology" in Robert J. Sharer and David Grove (eds), Regional Perspectives on the Olmec, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0521363327.
  • Diehl, Richard A. (2004) The Olmecs: America's First Civilization, Thames & Hudson, London, ISBN 978-0500285039.
  • Kubler, George (1984) The Art and Architecture of Ancient America: The Mexican, Maya and Andean Peoples, Pelican History of Art, Yale University Press, ISBN 0300053258.

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Olmec influences on Mesoamerican cultures — The major centers of the Olmec heartland (in yellow) as well as artifact finds unassociated with habitations (smaller circles, in red). The causes and degree of Olmec influences on Mesoamerican cultures has been a subject of debate over many… …   Wikipedia

  • Olmec — Monument 6, San Lorenzo Tenochtitlan …   Wikipedia

  • Olmec figurine — A selection of tiny naturalistic Olmec ceramic figurines from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The hunchback at center is less than 3 in (7 cm) tall …   Wikipedia

  • Olmec alternative origin speculations — San Lorenzo Tenochtitlan Colossal Head 6, a 3 meter high Olmec sculpture with lips and nose said to resemble African facial features. Olmec alternative origin speculations are explanations that have been suggested for the formation of Olmec… …   Wikipedia

  • Olmec religion — Monument 19, from La Venta, the earliest known representation of a feathered serpent in Mesoamerica. Courtesy George Audrey DeLange, used with permission. The religion of the Olmec people significantly influenced the social development and… …   Wikipedia

  • Olmec were-jaguar — The Olmec were jaguar is the name for both an Olmec motif and an Olmec supernatural. The were jaguar motif is charactertised by almond shaped eyes, a downturned open mouth, and a cleft head. [Coe (1968), p. 42. Diehl, p. 104.] It appears widely… …   Wikipedia

  • Epi-Olmec culture — a level of cultural complexity unknown to the Olmecs. [See, for example, Wilkerson, p. 46.] Tres Zapotes and eventually Cerro de las Mesas were the largest Epi Olmec centers though neither would reach the size and importance of the great Olmec… …   Wikipedia

  • pre-Columbian civilizations — Introduction       the aboriginal American Indian (Mesoamerican Indian) cultures that evolved in Meso America (part of Mexico and Central America) and the Andean region (western South America) prior to Spanish exploration and conquest in the 16th …   Universalium

  • Teopantecuanitlan — is an archaeological site in the Mexican state of Guerrero that represents an unexpectedly early development of complex society for the region. The site dates to the Early to Middle Formative Periods, and archaeological evidence clearly indicates …   Wikipedia

  • Tres Zapotes — is a Mesoamerican archaeological site located in the south central Gulf Lowlands of Mexico in the Papaloapan River plain. Tres Zapotes is sometimes referred to as the third major Olmec capital (after San Lorenzo Tenochtitlán and La Venta),… …   Wikipedia