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Olmec stone head. Source: marmoset / Adobe Stock.

The Olmecs: Mesoamerica’s Forgotten Mother Culture (Video)


Long before the Maya and Aztecs rose to prominence, the Olmec civilization flourished in Mexico and Central America, leaving behind an enduring legacy. Often hailed as the "mother culture" of Mesoamerica, the Olmecs exerted their influence between 1200 and 400 BC. Their accomplishments were remarkable for their time, encompassing the construction of impressive pyramids, intricate astronomical studies, and the development of sophisticated water systems. In recent years, archaeological findings have shed light on the profound impact the Olmecs had on the subsequent Maya and Aztec civilizations. These discoveries have unveiled vital clues about their advanced knowledge and technological prowess.

The Olmecs' architectural feats and urban planning techniques laid the foundation for future Mesoamerican societies. Their art, characterized by colossal stone heads and intricate jade carvings, influenced the artistic traditions of later cultures. Additionally, the Olmecs' understanding of astronomy, reflected in their calendrical systems, contributed to the Maya's renowned astronomical achievements. As more research and excavations continue, the significance of the Olmec civilization becomes increasingly apparent. Their contributions to Mesoamerican history and culture, predating the more well-known Maya and Aztecs, make them a critical piece in the mosaic of ancient civilizations in the region.

Top image: Olmec stone head. Source: marmoset / Adobe Stock.

By Robbie Mitchell



Charles Bowles's picture

The Great Central America/Mexico Olmecs….(Mother culture)

Charles Bowles

Robbie Mitchell's picture


I’m a graduate of History and Literature from The University of Manchester in England and a total history geek. Since a young age, I’ve been obsessed with history. The weirder the better. I spend my days working as a freelance... Read More

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