The Olmecs

The Olmecs

Most are familiar with the Mayans, but many are not aware that they enjoyed the longest civilization that we currently know at about 3,500 years. Yes, even longer than historic Egypt.

Far few are aware of the Olmecs that thrived in the same general area (a bit further South). The Olmecs flourished during Mesoamerica‘s formative period, dating roughly from as early as 1500 BCE to about 400 BCE. Pre-Olmec cultures had flourished since about 2500 BCE, but by 1600–1500 BCE, early Olmec culture had emerged, centered on the San Lorenzo Tenochtitlan site near the coast in southeast Veracruz.

The Olmec colossal heads are the most famous artifacts left behind by the Olmec civilization


Figures carved by the Olmecs are best known for the giant heads that resemble persons from Africa as seen above. However, at La Venta there are statues that represent people from several other areas. An example is the Asian figure below.

How was it possible for the Olmecs to be aware of persons from far distant lands?