By Hannah and Meredith

Physical Geography

Location: Southern Gulf Coast Of Mexico

Climate: Very wet with heavy rain.

Major Physical Features: Extended from the Tuxtlas Mountains in the west to the lowlands of the Chontalpa in the east. The three largest Olmec centers were La Venta, San Lorenzo, and Lagunadelos Cerros.


Each olmec town was ruled by either a governor or king.

They called governors ku and kings tu.

Olmec civilization was organized into a confederation of city states lead by a recognized governor or king.

War and Conflict

There is no written history of the olmecs having any enemies or war.


Major Natural Resources: Cacao, rubber, salt, cotton, sunflowers, avocados, and beans.

Trading Partners: Inland tribes.

Trade Items: Salt and beans for jade and obsidian.


Roles of Men and Women: Men did the hunting and women looked after the house.

Education: First in Western Hemisphere to develop a writing system.

Architecture: Colossal stone heads.

Clothing: Loose cotton garments dyed different colors. They were either knotted or held in place with cloth belts.

Cuisine: Avocados, cacao, maize, beans, squash, and sweet potatoes. They did a lot of fishing and hunting and got most of their protein from dog meat.

Religion: Practiced blood-letting and human sacrifice. Created the Mesoamerican ballgame. Believed their rulers were descended from deities or supernaturals. Had a feathered serpent and rain supernatural.


There are no written records from Olmec times and many of their artifacts were lost before archaeologists could analyze them. It is believed that the Olmecs invented the concept of 0, created a calendar, and made a compass.

Colossal stone head

An Olmec statuette called "The Wrestler"

Great pyramid in La Venta, Tabasco

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