Olmec Giant Stone Heads Mystery Solved?

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posted on Mar, 13 2009 @ 06:47 PM
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Hello Everybody I was doing what I do best and that is sticking my nose into stuff around the web and I found this. I have always been fascinated with ancient cultures and civilizations. One of the ones that have really captured my attention is the Olmecs of Central America. For those of you who are not familiar with them here is a little run down as per Wiki

Olmec

The Olmec were 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. The Olmec flourished during Mesoamerica's Formative period, dating roughly from 1400 BCE to about 400 BCE. They were the first Mesoamerican civilization and laid many of the foundations for the civilizations that followed.[1] Among other "firsts", there is evidence that the Olmec practiced 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.[2] In fact, the Olmec civilization was first defined through artifacts purchased on the pre-Columbian art market in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Olmec artworks are considered among ancient America's most striking and beautiful, and among the world's masterpieces.[3]


Now what I find really upsetting is all the misinformation regarding whether or not they were a tribe of African descent. Many will state that by simply looking at the giant heads they left behind you can definitely see an African connection. So I looked into this “Theory”


What I found was rather interesting while going through the known history of the area I believe and this is just my opinion that I’ve figured the real answer behind the “Mystery” of the Giant Stone heads of the Olmecs. Now some have speculated that the heads are from giant stone statues but that the bodies have never been found. I say that’s a fanciful idea with no known evidence to back that up. Some again speculated that they are Africans, well no DNA evidence to date has proved that connection.

Finally it comes down to two possibilities.

They represent great Warriors or Chieftains.
Now this is a very real possibility they wear helmets and only the strong survive back in the day and even in this day and age we celebrate great generals and victorious leaders so this may be the case. I have however have another theory and that is as follows


They really represent famous Ball Players
Now before you all start laughing I know that many here are familiar with the ancient ball courts of the Aztec and Mayans but the real history behind those games start in the older culture of the Olmecs and I feel that the reason why the giant stone heads look the way they do is simply do to a very aggressive full contact sport where elbows and possible stone game sticks were involved. This would prove to be very violent in nature almost a knock down dragged out sort of a game. We know that in some later versions the loosers were sacrificed. I don’t know about you but if I was facing sacrifice vs a victory celebration. I to would fight tooth and nail for a win.



I feel that the noses of these giant heads clearly show damage from being broken sometime repeatedly and never set like modern boxers do. The result after a few games would be a mashed up face and nose. Let’s take a look at a few heads here and notice the bridge of the nose many show a line and some show healing from massive trauma.










Now let’s take a look at some of the other known art work from that period. Here are some jade masks and figures that clearly show how they saw themselves.









If anything they show more of an Asian appearance which goes more along the lines of the ancient land bridge theory of Native Americans traveling down through North American and settling in Central and South America.

Here is a view of what the courts looked like.



So I think that they are Sports stars that each city state of the Olmecs would carve in a form of recognition. This could also be a form of honor for their city then as now they could have been fanatical about their team and star players immortalizing them in stone, and the little city states could have used this as a way to settle differences to avoid war between them or this may have caused war depending on how emotionally charged the events were.


I’ll add this picture here this is a jade mask I set forth the proposition that this could represent a possible leather face guard that the players may have worn.



Here is a little more history behind the ancient ball games of Central America

Ancient Invention The Mexican Ball Game

The most extraordinary sport of the ancient world was the sacred ball game of Central America and the southern United States. It was first played in about 1000 B.C. by the Olmecs, who lived along the Bay of Mexico, and by all the later great civilizations of the region. From the very start it was played by the most important members of society. The colossal Olmec heads—carved from basalt brought down from mountains fifty miles away and weighing up to forty-four tons—show Olmec rulers wearing head coverings. A plausible explanation is that these are the protective helmets (like those of modern football players) worn by the Olmecs when playing their sacred ball



Ball Game Origins



Origins

It is not known precisely when or where the Mesoamerican ballgame originated, although it is likely that the game originated earlier than 1400 BCE in the low-lying tropical zones home to the rubber tree.[4]
One candidate for the birthplace of the ballgame is the Soconusco coastal lowlands along the Pacific Ocean.[5] Here, at Paso de la Amada, archaeologists have found the oldest ballcourt yet discovered, dated to approximately 1400 BCE.[6]

The other major candidate is the Olmec heartland, across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec along the Gulf Coast.[7] The Aztecs referred to their Postclassic contemporaries who then inhabited the region as the Olmeca (i.e. "rubber people") since the region was strongly identified with latex production.[8] The earliest-known rubber balls come from the sacrificial bog at El Manatí, an early Olmec-associated site located in the hinterland of the Coatzalcoalcos River drainage system. Villagers, and subsequently archaeologists, have recovered a dozen balls ranging in diameter from 10 to 22 cm from the freshwater spring there.

Five of these balls have been dated to the earliest-known occupational phase for the site, approximately 1700—1600 BCE.[9] These rubber balls were found with other ritual offerings buried at the site, indicating that even at this early date the ballgame had religious and ritual connotations.[10] A stone "yoke" of the type frequently associated with Mesoamerican ballcourts was also reported to have been found by local villagers at the site, leaving open the distinct possibility that these rubber balls were related to the ritual ballgame, and not simply an independent form of sacrificial offering.[11]



Possible Olmec ball player statue




I have also included some links from previous ATS thread regarding who these people were.
Here are some great reads that for some reasons never got attention so I’ll post links here

Unkown writing system Uncovered On Ancient Olmex Tablet

Unknown Writing System Uncovered On Ancient Olmec Tablet Science magazine this week details the discovery of a stone block in Veracruz, Mexico, that contains a previously unknown system of writing; believed by archeologists to be the earliest in the Americas. The slab - named the Cascajal block - dates to the early first millennium BCE and has features that indicate it comes from the Olmec civilization of Mesoamerica. One of the archaeologists behind the discovery, Brown University's Stephen D. Houston, said that the block and its ancient script "link the Olmec civilization to literacy, document an unsuspected writing system, and reveal a new complexity to this civilization." The Olmec and the ancient Basque peoples share a common myth.



Well I'm looking forward to your opinions and I'm as always open for a debate. I always learn more that way!


The Olmec and the ancient Basque people share a common myth
The Olmec and the Elephant "toy"







[edit on 13-3-2009 by SLAYER69]




posted on Mar, 13 2009 @ 06:57 PM
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This makes a lot of sense. I'm not saying I believe it but I like the fresh approach and common sense of it.




posted on Mar, 13 2009 @ 07:03 PM
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I'm sorry I ran out of room and I forgot to add this picture of what I think may be a Warrior King or Chieftain. So those who feel that they represent Kings and such wont feel left out.



posted on Mar, 13 2009 @ 07:44 PM
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Interesting theory and, as usual Slayer, well researched. It certainly makes sense. We still treat our sportsmen like gods!



posted on Mar, 13 2009 @ 10:29 PM
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The ball player theroy is a good one. Repeatly broken faces could look like that. And the masks of 'normal' statues are lovely.

But looking at the pics I'm still torn.

I once came across an article about an olmec head in Arkansas. Anybody else ever run across that? (Unfortunately that was before I learned to start a new doc with the web address of the source
and back up my computer :duh



posted on Mar, 13 2009 @ 10:45 PM
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reply to post by Curiosityrising
 


Well I could be wrong. But it does make since especially when we find their ball players buried with rubber balls and they built stadiums all over central America hey almost al had them.



posted on Mar, 13 2009 @ 11:18 PM
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reply to post by OZtracized
 


That can be very true. We hang championship banners of the seasons our local teams have won around the stadium. Who's to say they didn't do the same with having the heads near their villages or small cities on a road or someplace as a reminder to people.



posted on Mar, 13 2009 @ 11:51 PM
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Wow! This is a very novel approach and, I must say, one that makes complete sense! All societies have glorified there athletes one way or another; we build statues of some of them even today. Congratulations for thinking outside the box! S&F for you!



posted on Mar, 14 2009 @ 12:08 AM
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One problem with the smashed face theory is that there is other Olmec statuary which has similar facial features but lacks the same headgear and/or for other reasons would not seem to represent ball players.

The "grandmother", I suppose could be a ball player but is certainly of a different style than the heads.
Grandmother

Here are a couple of infants. I don't think they started playing ball this early in life:
Babies

It could be that rather than representing injuries, the similarities actually do reflect racial similarities. Or, if the Olmec did not really have african origins it could be nothing more than familial. A bloodline of kings (and sports stars) would tend to have similar features. Still another possibility is that these african-like features were admired by the Olmec and used to idealize the images of their heroes.

[edit on 3/14/2009 by Phage]



posted on Mar, 14 2009 @ 12:38 AM
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An interesting idea, I would suspect they made these over a long period of time and for many different reasons. Sports could certainly be one of those reasons.

I've been to that part of Mexico and that type of face isn't that unusual.




This is just one but if you look for tourist photos of faces in historic Olmec areas you'll get that same squat fat lips asian/native american look.

This is just a passing posting, sorry I don't have more time to comment further.



posted on Mar, 14 2009 @ 01:10 AM
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A good theory Slayer.

Ever thought they could be like a Gladiator type sports people that included a bit of a punch up while playing ball?

The last man standing with the ball wins the game be broken nose, leg, arm, or other.

I wonder if they had some form of testicle protection in those days


Mind you I do think the big flat nose is race related and they all look like they are wearing some type of helmet.



S&F

[edit on 14-3-2009 by Bob Down Under]



posted on Mar, 14 2009 @ 01:24 AM
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Originally posted by ajmusicmedia
Wow! This is a very novel approach and, I must say, one that makes complete sense! All societies have glorified there athletes one way or another; we build statues of some of them even today. Congratulations for thinking outside the box! S&F for you!


Yes true I was thinking about the Lakers. They have all their banners all around the Arena from all their championships



posted on Mar, 14 2009 @ 01:30 AM
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reply to post by Phage
 


I know I have many pictures of the jade work and masks I was going to post more. Some how I'm not sure if those are infants with pudgy noses or they are artistic portrayal of types of popular appearance remember there are plenty of elongated skulls and sculptures, these are the people who started the elongated skulls in central America


[edit on 14-3-2009 by SLAYER69]



posted on Mar, 14 2009 @ 02:16 AM
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Originally posted by Hanslune

I've been to that part of Mexico and that type of face isn't that unusual.






via photoshop
I have added a little facial trauma close to a broken nose fattened lips and eyebrow puffiness, All similar to what a long term boxer may exhibit.
Compare these two




[edit on 14-3-2009 by SLAYER69]



posted on Mar, 14 2009 @ 02:19 AM
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Originally posted by Bob Down Under
A good theory Slayer.

Ever thought they could be like a Gladiator type sports people that included a bit of a punch up while playing ball?

The last man standing with the ball wins the game be broken nose, leg, arm, or other.


Mind you I do think the big flat nose is race related and they all look like they are wearing some type of helmet.



Well they do have well defined noses my X wife was from Guatemala and her relatives all looked similar to the picture I just posted. Now as with the image I slightly photo shopped to simulate a boxers face you can see the similarities.


[edit on 14-3-2009 by SLAYER69]



posted on Mar, 14 2009 @ 03:16 AM
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Interesting take Slayer, as a motif a ball player would likely have far more appeal to the average Olmec then some crusty old chieftain any day! Although you allude that their features were perhaps due to some sport injury, it should not be used as a denial of their African heritage.

The Olmec are known as the Xi People, a group that migrated from Africa. Another group of people who joined the Olmes were the Black Xia of China. According to historians such as Wayne B. Chandler (African Presence in Early America), two of China's earliest dynasties, the Shang and the Shia, were both heavily Black African/Black Oceanic dynasties, with Mongol Chinese as well. They dominated China about 2800 B.C. to 1100 B.C.

"A History of the African-Olmecs: Black Civilizations of America from Prehistoric Times to the Present Era" by Paul Alfred Barton
"African Presence in Early America" Wayne B. Chandler

Race and History

One of the most important connections made to show that the Olmecs were West Africans is the very strong similarities in race between the Olmec and West Africans and the ancient Nubians. In fact, during a scientific conference held years ago, West African scientists identified Olmec artwork and representations of Africoid peoples as West African.

The Africans also identified cultural traits such as ear plugs, scarification marks and keloid tattoos on the skin and face, cornrows, braids and tassels and even afro hairstyle as West African. Moreover, according to Ivan Van Sertima (African Presence in Early America), giant heads of stone to represent important people in Africa was being done in the present era as well as in ancient Egypt and Nubia.

The 22 or more colossal stone heads carved out of solid basalt rock has identifiable Black African in racial features as well as cultural traits like cornrow hairstyle, braids with beads and kinky hair as well as a type of war helmet identified as Nubian have been found carved in Colossal Olmec sculpture connecting them to West Africa and the Egypt/Sudan region.

Hundreds of clay and terracotta busts, statuettes and figurines also show Black African racial and cultural traits. For example, scarification marks and keloid tattoos identical to those worn by West Africans and Sudanese Africans can be seen on some Olmec busts and terracotta heads. Kinky hair, cornrows, braids are also represented (see African Presence in Early America, by Ivan Van Sertima; Transaction Publishers.

The Olmec are known as the Xi People, a group that migrated from Africa. Another group of people who joined the Olmec were the Black Xia of China. According to historians such as Wayne B. Chandler (African Presence in Early America), two of China's earliest dynasties, the Shang and the Shia, were both heavily Black African/Black Oceanic dynasties, with Mongol Chinese as well. They dominated China about 2800 BC to 1100 BC

As early as 2200 BC, members of the Black Shia began migrating out of China after they were replaced by the Black Shang Dynasty. The book, "A History of the African-Olmecs" presents many references from Chinese sources to support the fact of Black civilizations in ancient China.

About 1100 BC, migrants from northern China predominated by Mongoloids called Chou, invaded the Chang Kingdom and described the Chang as "black and oily skinned." During that period many of the Black Chang migrated to Southern China, Indo-China and the Pacific Islands. Others went to the Americas, where they met an established Black Mende culture in Mexico.


Skeletal Evidence of African Olmecs

the Olmec people were called Xi. They did not speak a Mixe-Zoque language they spoke a Mande language, which is the substratum language for many Mexican languages.



posted on Mar, 14 2009 @ 03:16 AM
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I think their art is rather unique and very Asian looking take a look at some of these








[edit on 14-3-2009 by SLAYER69]



posted on Mar, 14 2009 @ 03:21 AM
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Olmec art is considered some of the most treasured in the world. It's not surprising it has an Asian look to it, as mentioned above the Xi spread into China as well as the Americas, so you will see some African features similar to Mongoloid and Olmec features.



posted on Mar, 14 2009 @ 03:55 AM
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reply to post by Blackmarketeer
 


Well I'm working on a very long post regarding that long journey. I have been at for a few weeks and want to get that one just right and see if people can debunk it.

Stay tuned people



posted on Mar, 14 2009 @ 04:51 AM
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Excellent idea Slayer and it seems pretty reasonable based on the evidence. One other explanation, purely speculation, is that the noses may have been a reflection of body modification customs to define social position (caste system?). The Olmecs used cranial modification in the priests class...



I was also wondering about their veneration of the jaguar. Would a face look more jaguar-like or less with a squashed nose?

Good thread





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