Olmec Art and Archaeology in Mesoamerica

Overview

This handsome volume presents the creations of Mesoamerica’s most ancient societies in their archaeological contexts. The Olmec—best known for a unique style of monumental stone head and jade were-jaguar—were based along the Gulf of Mexico but have also been linked to other Mesoamerican civilizations such as the Maya and Aztec. This book discusses recent spectacular finds and provides a framework for understanding the history, art, and archaeology of the Olmec.

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Overview

This handsome volume presents the creations of Mesoamerica’s most ancient societies in their archaeological contexts. The Olmec—best known for a unique style of monumental stone head and jade were-jaguar—were based along the Gulf of Mexico but have also been linked to other Mesoamerican civilizations such as the Maya and Aztec. This book discusses recent spectacular finds and provides a framework for understanding the history, art, and archaeology of the Olmec.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300085228
  • Publisher: National Gallery of Art
  • Publication date: 7/11/2000
  • Series: Studies in the History of Art Series
  • Pages: 344
  • Product dimensions: 9.40 (w) x 11.33 (h) x 1.17 (d)

Meet the Author

John E. Clark is professor of anthropology at Brigham Young University and director of the New World Archaeological Foundation. Mary E. Pye is a research associate with the New World Archaeological Foundation.

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Table of Contents

Preface 7
Introducing Olmec Archaeology 9
Olmec Archaeology after Regional Perspectives: An Assessment of Recent Research 19
I Archaeology in the Heartland
Framing the Gulf Olmecs 31
The Ancient Landscape at San Lorenzo Tenochtitlan, Veracruz, Mexico: Settlement and Nature 55
The Sacred Hill of El Manati: A Preliminary Discussion of the Site's Ritual Paraphernalia 75
The Monuments of Laguna de los Cerros and Its Hinterland 95
Sociopolitical Complexity and the Gulf Olmecs: A View from the Tuxtla Mountains, Veracruz, Mexico 117
From Olmec to Epi-Olmec at Tres Zapotes, Veracruz, Mexico 137
A Massive Offering of Axes at La Merced, Hidalgotitlan, Veracruz, Mexico 155
II Archaeology in the Hinterland
Ranked Societies, Iconographic Complexity, and Economic Wealth in the Basin of Mexico toward 1200 B.C. 169
Animal Imagery, Cultural Unities, and Ideologies of Inequality in Early Formative Mesoamerica 193
The Pacific Coast and the Olmec Question 217
III Topics in Olmec Art
Olmec Sculpture: The First Mesoamerican Art 253
The Portrait and the Mask: Invention and Translation 265
Faces of the Earth at Chalcatzingo, Mexico: Serpents, Caves, and Mountains in Middle Formative Period Iconography 277
Lightning Celts and Corn Fetishes: The Formative Olmec and the Development of Maize Symbolism in Mesoamerica and the American Southwest 297
Notes on Contributors 339
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