More gigantic heads like the one at Tres Zapotes, in addition to a number of massive stone altars and stelae, have been discovered at the La Venta site. This site was the Olmec people's most important cultural center. It was their capital city, the cultural heart of their society. These massive stone works were somehow floated by means of …show more content…
The site is laid out along a north and south axis with a huge earth and clay pyramid as its most prominent feature.
The Olmecs were a very advanced culture for their time. They were the first Mesoamerican people to understand the concept of zero, which is essential in mathematics. They were the first to develop a calendar and were the first to create an hieroglyphic writing system to record events. The Olmec's intellectual achievements, religious beliefs and rituals were very influential on the neighboring cultures around them. Cultures such as the Maya, Zapotec, Mixtec and Aztec were all heavily influenced by Olmec culture.
Many Mesoamerican communities appear to have been permanently occupied prior to 1200 BC. It is within this period of the early preclassic period that the earliest Maya villages were found to be occupied in northern Belize. The settlement in Cuello was also settled by Maya around 1200 BC. This was a time in when the heavily Olmec influenced Maya began come together as a city …show more content…
The Olmec center at La Venta appears to have been deliberately destroyed sometime around 400 to 300 BC. There has not been any discoveries of why, but speculation points to conquest by a neighboring culture that conquered and destroyed the Olmec along with their civilization.
Numerous other Maya sites and related ones on the Pacific Coast show signs of growing from settlements into cities with ceremonial centers at around 1000 BC. The date from 1200 to 1000 BC appears to be the period of time when most Maya settlements progressed into the early preclassic period and built either cities or large settlements. Their interaction with each other and other cultures helped to progress this.
The Early Preclassic Maya had regularly traded and exchanged goods with both local and distant people. They were able to import obsidian, jade and iron pyrite from different regions in Mesoamerica. They even acquired conch shells for jewelry and salted reef fish from the Caribbean coast. This trade and regular interaction between other cultures and other Maya settlements helped push their knowledge and technology ever further as they progressed into the middle preclassic