America's First CivilizationBook - 2005
The Olmecs established the first cities in the Americas on high ground overlooking the rivers that meander across southeastern Mexico's fertile coastal lowlands. Between the thirteenth and sixth centuries BC, rulers of San Lorenzo and La Venta oversaw the construction of palaces, pyramids, plazas, richly stocked tombs, and religious sanctuaries, and commissioned hundreds of sculptures carved from raw basalt. Thousands of Olmec farmers supported themselves and their leaders by growing maize and other domesticated plants. Rulers and priests interceded on behalf of the entire society with the gods and spirits, while merchants ventured into distant lands searching for rare stones, shells, animal pelts, feathers, and exotic foods such as cacao.
The Olmecs presents the first modern overview of information from recent archaeological field projects and studies of Olmec art. Profusely illustrated, it will become the standard work on this enigmatic culture.