Based on the archaeology definition, civilization is the past culture society and the way of life of people in a particular area. It is described as the systemic network of urban culture that has characteristics judged by political, economical military cultural and social interactions. The Olmec fit this definition of civilizations because of of their urban centers such as San Lorenzo Tres Zapotes. And Las Limas. There are remains of pyramids and sculptured stone head that show their level of appreciation of art.
The Olmec was the pre-classical culture that flourished in Mesoamerica from 1200 BCE to 400 BCE. The culture was situated around the Gulf of Mexico in the present state of Tabasco and Vera Cruz in Mexico. Their civilization was marked by the development of colossal sculptures as well as ball games. They were also among the first civilization to build pyramids. There also exist bilateral symmetry in the designs of the three most important centres in the Olmec civilization that is La Venta Laguna de los Cerros and San Lorenzo.
Shamans are described as persons with the ability to influence the world of good and evil spirits by entering into a trance during a ritual. They were acted as intermediaries between the human world and the spiritual cosmos. The Mesoamerica cultures embraced shamanisms which is justified by the presence of bones of toads, mind-altering drugs that are believed to have been used by humans. They played a very significant role in the society that of mediating between human and the spirits.
The Mayan and the Zapotec cultures are the two main cultures have interacted in the Teotihuacan region. The region adopted an architectural style known as the talud-tablerro which has been found in Mayan regions of Tikal, Becan, and Copan. This shows the influence that the city had on neighboring cultures throughout the Mesoamerica.
The modern countries occupying the Mesoamerica region were culturally interrelated. This is evident from the archeological remains that portray similar symmetry in architecture. Obsidian artifacts are evident throughout the region which shows similarity in their culture. The ball game was a common game that was practiced through the regions as evident form murals and mask sculptures.
Teotihuacan comprised of multiethnic communities that had their culture flourish between the first century and the seventh century. The culture established huge temples that developed the city to a religious center as well as an urban settlement. They developed multi-floor apartment to accommodate the population. The pyramid of the moon and the pyramid of the sun acted as the main sacred temples for the Teotihuacan region.
Monte Alban was once the capital center for the Zapotec culture. There is also evidence of the existence Olmec culture found in carved stone monuments commonly known as the Danzantes. The Danzantes were stones depicting naked men in twisted and contorted poses. The stones were found in the Monte Alban ruins constructed by the Zapotec cultures.
Art historians and archeologists study the specific characteristics of different artifacts in the explanation of the different styles that existed in Mesoamerica. They describe the styles in relation to the main influencers such as religion cosmovision, their geographical periods as well as iconography. The pyramids at Teotihuacan were largely influenced by the orientation of the sun and moon during their construction. Iconographic writings and decorations in buildings is also an essential tool for classification.
The Olmec colossal heads comprise of huge carved human heads carved from basalt boulders to represent significant Olmec rulers. The infantile figurines were small and simple that represented the full human body manly made of jade greenstone ceramic and terracotta. They are numerous signifying their availability to the large population. The colossal heads and the infantile figures differ in their sizes as well as their material content. Only 17 colossal heads have been discovered while there are numerous infantile figures.
The infantile figures were a major attribute of the Olmec culture that remains. They were formed to depict a small representation of naked of in partially clothed. Their numerous remains and variety in their material of making signify that they may have been famous throughout the Olmec culture. They fulfill the definition of art due to their exquisite depiction of human beings and attention to the details.