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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. 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. 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.
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
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.
One candidate for the birthplace of the ballgame is the Soconusco coastal lowlands along the Pacific Ocean. Here, at Paso de la Amada, archaeologists have found the oldest ballcourt yet discovered, dated to approximately 1400 BCE.
The other major candidate is the Olmec heartland, across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec along the Gulf Coast. 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. 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. 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. 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.
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.
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!
Originally posted by Hanslune
I've been to that part of Mexico and that type of face isn't that unusual.
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.
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.
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.