January 10, 2010
Olmec civilization emerged roughly 3,000 years ago in the eastern lowlands along Mexico's Gulf Coast in what is today the region of Veracruz and Tabasco. In many ways, it provided the foundation for all Mesoamerican art, much the way ancient Greek art did for subsequent European culture. Still, Olmec society today remains very much a mystery. For example, no one is quite sure what the monumental, 10-ton stone sculptures of helmeted human heads were used for -- although it is certain that anybody who came upon one at a time when the wheel was not yet in use and carving implements were rudimentary would know he was in the jaw-dropping presence of extraordinary power.
May 13, 2006 |
A carved monolith unearthed in Mexico may show that the Olmec civilization, one of the oldest in the Americas, was more widespread than thought or that another culture thrived alongside it 3,000 years ago. Findings at the newly excavated Tamtoc archeological site in the north-central state of San Luis Potosi may prompt some scholars to rethink whether Mesoamerica's earliest peoples were based in southern Mexico.
July 7, 1996
The first comprehensive exhibition of Olmec art, now on display at the National Gallery of Art in Washington through Oct. 20, provides a look at Mexico's earliest and least-known civilization. The 122 objects in the exhibit were created in Mexico and Central America 3,000 years ago, long before the Mayans or Aztecs. One of the carvings is a huge andesite sculpture known as Colossal Head 8, the portrait of a ruler of an Olmec capital in the Gulf Coast lowlands of Mexico.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 15, 2001
Marion Illig Stirling Pugh, 89, a Smithsonian secretary who married her archeologist boss and with him studied the ancient Olmec civilization of Middle America, died April 24 in Tucson. The young woman took night classes in anthropology, geology and Russian while working for Matthew W. Stirling, and learned archeology after marrying him in 1933. She became, he said, his "co-explorer, co-author and general coordinator" on expeditions to Mexico, Panama, Ecuador and Costa Rica beginning in 1938.
May 4, 1986 |
Archeologists digging in Copalillo, Mexico, in the remote mountains southwest of Cuernavaca, have unearthed the earliest stone buildings found so far on the North American continent, along with a monumental carved stone head. Confirmed dates for the site, built by the ancient Olmec civilization, are 600 BC to 1200 BC, with preliminary laboratory testing of organic remains indicating dates going back as far as 1400 BC--roughly the time of Tutankhamen in Egypt.
November 15, 2003 |
Human bones believed to date from the ancient Olmec civilization have been found in southeastern Honduras, suggesting that the influential culture extended farther than previously thought, Honduran authorities said. Carmen Fajardo at the Honduran Institute of Anthropology and History said the bones appeared to be the first Olmec remains found outside the so-called Mesoamerican corridor, which stretches from Mexico to central Honduras.