Definitions for olmecˈɒl mɛk, ˈoʊl-
This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word olmec
a member of an early Mesoamerican civilization centered around Veracruz that flourished between 1300 and 400 BC
A member of an ancient pre-Columbian people living in the tropical lowlands of south-central Mexico, in what are roughly the modern-day states of Veracruz and Tabasco.
Origin: meaning rubber people (compare olli).
The Olmec were the first major civilization in Mexico. They lived in the tropical lowlands of south-central Mexico, in the modern-day states of Veracruz and Tabasco. The Olmec flourished during Mesoamerica's Formative period, dating roughly from as early as 1500 BCE to about 400 BCE. Pre-Olmec cultures had flourished in the area since about 2500 BCE, but by 1600–1500 BCE Early Olmec culture had emerged centered around the San Lorenzo Tenochtitlán site near the coast in southeast Veracruz. They were the first Mesoamerican civilization and laid many of the foundations for the civilizations that followed. Among other "firsts", the Olmec appeared to practice ritual bloodletting and played the Mesoamerican ballgame, hallmarks of nearly all subsequent Mesoamerican societies. The most familiar aspect of the Olmecs is their artwork, particularly the aptly named "colossal heads". The Olmec civilization was first defined through artifacts which collectors purchased on the pre-Columbian art market in the late 19th century and early 20th century. Olmec artworks are considered among ancient America's most striking.
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