According to their history, the Olmecs were the first people who settled down in the coastal regions of central America, about 1500 years before Christ was born. The right hand earspool also appears incomplete; the forward portion is marked with a sculpted line while the rear portion has been sculpted in relief, probably indicating that the right cheek and eye area were also unfinished. Copyright - 2015 - 2020 - Mayans and Tikal - Mayans and Tikal, Olmec colossal heads are one of the most remarkable icons of the ancient, It was previously surmised by researchers that these heads represented ball players of Olmec. CUNY Mexican Studies Institute 5 June 2013. They established a city on a river island in 1200 B.C. According to a recent study, 20 people were needed to transport a rock that had a weight of 0.5 tons. When we talk about the Olmecs, we are talking about an ancient civilization that did not know about bronze and other tools, they only had the knowledge of carving “stone” with other “stone” materials. [49] The majority of these ceramic remains have been dated to between 800 and 400 BC;[50] some pieces have been dated to the Villa Alta phase (Late Classic period, 800–1000 AD). The other issue is that the places where the Olmecs lived is filled with marshes and swamps which makes it impossible to transport the rocks over these wet places. [38] Possible fragments of additional colossal heads have been recovered at San Lorenzo and at San Fernando in Tabasco. Monument 2 has suffered erosion damage from its exposure to the elements prior to discovery. Most have been dated to the Early Preclassic period (1500–1000 BC) with some to the Middle Preclassic (1000–400 BC) period. Olmec colossal heads are considered a critically important part of the extant Olmec art. [112] The latter, the first of the La Venta heads to be discovered, was found during archaeological exploration of La Venta in 1925; the other three remained unknown to archaeologists until a local boy guided Matthew Stirling to them while he was excavating the first head in 1940. [25], The La Cobata head is more or less rounded and measures 3 by 3 metres (9.8 by 9.8 ft) by 3.4 metres (11 ft) high, making it the largest known head. Facts about the Olmec Civilization. All later cultures, such as the Veracruz, Maya, Toltec, and Aztecs all borrowed from the Olmec. [80] The band of the headdress is set at an angle and has a notch above the bridge of the nose. There is also a handful of surviving wooden busts and some cave paintings in nearby mountains. They placed a series of wooden rollers beneath the rock to minimize friction and make it possible to transport. The face has wrinkles between the nose and cheeks, sagging cheeks and deep-set eyes; the lips are badly damaged and the mouth is open, displaying the teeth. Mainstream theories are limited to tarnish the magnificence of the once incredible ancient civilization that made them with absurd and ridiculous theories. The smallest weigh 6 tons, while the largest is variously estimated to weigh 40 to 50 tons, although it was abandoned and left uncompleted close to the source of its stone. [101] Most of the head is carved in a realistic manner, the exception being the ears. They moved these massive boulders many miles, most likely using a combination of sledges, rollers, and rafts, before carving them without the benefit of metal tools. Best known today for their carved colossal heads, the Olmecs were an important early Mesoamerican civilization which had much influence on later cultures such as the Aztecs and the Maya. Dating the monuments remains difficult because of the movement of many from their original contexts prior to archaeological investigation. Olmec heads must have required a highly planned manufacturing process. [13] They were once thought to represent ballplayers although this theory is no longer widely held; it is possible, however, that they represent rulers equipped for the Mesoamerican ballgame. The Olmec civilization existed between 14th century and 4th century B.C. Geological records show that the sources of the stone used in the San Lorenzo heads were found some 50 miles away. When excavated, it was found to be lying on its right-hand side and in a very good state of preservation. Olmec colossal heads were fashioned as in-the-round monuments with varying levels of relief on the same work; they tended to feature higher relief on the face and lower relief on the earspools and headdresses. It was previously surmised by researchers that these heads represented ball players of Olmec cities. The headdress is of a single piece without a distinct headband. [107] All four heads from La Venta are now in Villahermosa, the state capital of Tabasco. [110], Three of the La Venta heads were found in a line running east-west in the northern Complex I; all three faced northwards, away from the city centre. The Olmec apparently traded with other cultures all over Mesoamerica. The Olmec heads were once thought to have represented Mesoamerican ball players who were sacrificed after losing a match. When discovered, it was half-buried; its massive size meant that the discoverers were unable to excavate it completely. Each ear has a prominent ear ornament that descends from the earlobe to the base of the monument. Archaeologists think the Olmecs found most of the basalt in the Tuxtlas Mountain range. Given that the extremely large slabs of stone used in their production were transported over large distances (over 150 kilometres (93 mi)), requiring a great deal of human effort and resources, it is thought that the monuments represent portraits of powerful individual Olmec rulers. The Olmec heads are one of those archaeological artifacts that mainstream archaeology tries to avoid at all costs. [55] The head has been moved to the Museo de Antropología de Xalapa ("Anthropological Museum of Xalapa"). But why hide them? A massive stone head, possibly a portrait of the ruler who ordered the work. The Mesoamerican ball game was a team sport with profound religious and cultural significance for the indigenous people of Mexico and Central America. Five of them are in Sala 1, one is in Sala 2, and one is in Patio 1. [2] The heads were sculpted out of a hard, dense rock called basalt. The figurines have been recovered in large numbers and are mostly in pottery; these were presumably widely available to the population.