978-0-500-02119-4 / 9780500021194

The Olmecs: America's First Civilization (Ancient Peoples and Places)


Publisher:Thames & Hudson



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About the book:

The Olmecs of southern Mexico were America's oldest civilization and Mesoamerica's 'Mother Culture'. Long famous for their Colossal Heads carved from giant boulders, the Olmecs have fascinated the public and archaeologists alike since the 1940s when National Geographic magazine reported the initial explorations of their centres. Despite well-publicized discoveries of spectacular basalt sculptures, portable jade objects and richly decorated pottery vessels, until quite recently almost nothing was known about Olmec history, foreign contacts and daily life. Now archaeologists have recovered information that allows them to assemble a reasonably complete picture of Olmec culture, its accomplishments and its impact on later Mexican civilizations. The Olmecs presents the first modern overview of information from recent archaeological field projects and studies of Olmec art. In addition to detailed consideration of Olmec life, culture and art, it examines the Olmec presence in the surrounding areas of Mexico and central Mexico and their role in the formation of pre-Columbian Mesoamerican culture. Profusely illustrated, this engagingly written survey will become the standard work on this enigmatic culture.

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