Best articles about oldest civilizations

The Olmecs - Earliest Civilization in Central America

Posted in Uncategorized  by antiques

the-olmecs-earliest-civilization-in-central-americaThe earliest civilization in Central America—and possibly the earliest civilization in the Americas—was the Olmec civilization which arose sometime between 1200 and 1000 BC. They originally lived in the Gulf Coast region of southern Mexico, but soon expanded into Guatemala.

Olmec society was very simple. It was essentially divided into two groups: the elite group lived in the small urban centers (towns, really) and the common people lived in the rural areas. The Olmecs were overwhelmingly an agricultural people. The elite lived off of the agriculture of the common people, but they probably didn’t rule over the agricultural populations. Instead, they carried out religious ceremonies centered in the towns and carried out commercial trade in luxury and artistic items.

The most dramatic achievement of the Olmecs were the building of massive stone heads. We aren’t sure who is represented by these heads, but archaeologists believe that they may be Olmec kings. Around 300 BC, the Olmec vanished for reasons that vanished with them.

We do know, however, that much of their culture and social structure was absorbed by other peoples. The Olmecs, as far as we can tell, are the first chain in the development of Mesoamerican culture.

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