The Olmec

    The Olmec were an ancient pre-Columbian civilization that lived in the tropical low-lands of south central Mexico. They were the first signs of complex society in Central America.   They inhabited the tropical coastal plain of the contemporary states of Veracruz and Tabasco, between 1200 and 400 BC.
  The Olmec created many things. One major thing was art. They must have had a high regard for art as many caves, paintings, & huge stone sculptures have been found, along with jade artifacts & statues. Typically, the Olmec’s art featured jaguars, thick-lipped soldiers and goatee-bearded men, and often a combination of jaguar and children. Their art was so strongly connected to jaguars because they believed that they were descendants of them. Because of this the animal was held in very high esteem and was commonly featured in religious ceremonies. Some of these huge carved stone heads have been found up to 100km away from the source of stone, leaving researchers still wondering exactly how they managed to transport such massive pieces those distances, though the most likely explanation must be that they floated them on barges down the extensive network of rivers. In fact itself is part of a lodestone that had been polished into a bar with a groove at one end (that Carlson suggests may have been used for sighting). The artifact now consistently points 35.5 degrees west of north, but may have pointed north-south when whole. It is possible that the artifact was in fact used as some constituent piece of a decorative ornament. No other similar hematite artifacts have yet been found.
Another major creation possibly brought about from the Olmec was the calendar. The Long Count calendar used by many subsequent Mesoamerican civilizations, as well as the concept of zero, may have been devised by the Olmec. Because the six artifacts with the earliest Long Count calendar dates were all discovered outside the immediate Maya homeland, it is likely that this...