The Indus Valley Civilisation was also named as the Harappan civilisation after Harappathe first of its sites to be excavated in the s, in what was then the Punjab province of British India. The Kulli culture of Balochistan, of which more than settlement sites are known, can be regarded as a local variant of the IVC, or a related culture. The geography of the Indus Valley put the civilisations that arose there in a highly similar situation to those in Egypt and Peruwith rich agricultural lands being surrounded by highlands, desert, and ocean. Other IVC colonies can be found in Afghanistan while smaller isolated colonies can be found as far away as Turkmenistan and in Maharashtra.
It has been calculated that the largest heads weigh between 25 and 55 short tons 50 t. The heads were carved from single blocks or boulders of volcanic basalt, found in the Tuxtlas Mountains.
The Tres Zapotes heads, for example, were sculpted from basalt found at the summit of Cerro el Vigia, at the western end of the Tuxtlas.
The San Lorenzo and La Venta heads, on the other hand, were likely carved from the basalt of Cerro Cintepec, on the southeastern side, perhaps at the nearby Llano del Jicaro workshop, and dragged or floated to their final destination dozens of miles away.
It has been estimated that moving a colossal head required the efforts of 1, people for three to four months. It is known that some monuments, and at least two heads, were recycled or recarved, but it is not known whether this was simply due to the scarcity of stone or whether these actions had ritual or other connotations.
It is also suspected that some mutilation had significance beyond mere destruction, but some scholars still do not rule out internal conflicts or, less likely, invasion as a factor.
Almost all of these colossal heads bear the same features, flattened nose, wide lips, and capping headpiece, possible features of the Olmec warrior-kings.
These characteristics have caused some debate due to their apparent resemblance to African facial characteristics. Based on this comparison, some have insisted that the Olmecs were Africans who had emigrated to the New World. However, claims of pre-Columbian contacts with Africa are rejected Compare and contrast early civilization the vast majority of archeologists and other Mesoamerican scholars.
Explanations for the facial features of the colossal heads include the possibility that the heads were carved in this manner due to the shallow space allowed on the basalt boulders.
Others note that in addition to the broad noses and thick lips, the heads have the Asian eye-fold, and that all these characteristics can still be found in modern Mesoamerican Indians.
In addition, the African origin hypothesis assumes that Olmec carving was intended to be realistic, an assumption that is hard to justify given the full corpus of representation in Olmec carving.
This head dates from to BCE and is 2. Monuments were also an important characteristic of Olmec centers. Today they provide us with some idea of the nature of Olmec ideology.
Colossal heads glorified the rulers while they were alive, and commemorated them as revered ancestors after their death. The inert were-jaguar baby held by the central figure is seen by some as an indication of child sacrifice.
In contrast, its sides show bas-reliefs of humans holding quite lively were-jaguar babies. Altars were actually the thrones of Olmec rulers. The carving on the front of the throne shows the identified ruler sitting in a niche that symbolizes a cave entrance to the supernatural powers of the underworld.
Some researchers, including artist and art historian Miguel Covarrubias, even postulate that the Olmecs formulated the forerunners of many of the later Mesoamerican deities. Bloodletting and Sacrifice Although there is no explicit representation of Olmec bloodletting in the archaeological record, there is nonetheless a strong case that the Olmecs ritually practiced it.
Numerous natural and ceramic stingray spikes and maguey thorns, for example, have been found at Olmec sites, and certain artifacts have been identified as bloodletters. The argument that the Olmecs instituted human sacrifice is significantly more speculative.
No Olmec or Olmec-influenced sacrificial artifacts have yet been discovered and there is no Olmec or Olmec-influenced artwork that unambiguously shows sacrificial victims similar, for example, to the danzante figures of Monte Alban or scenes of human sacrifice such as can be seen in the famous ballcourt mural from El Tajin.
However, at the El Manati site, disarticulated skulls and femurs as well as complete skeletons of newborn or unborn children have been discovered amidst the other offerings, leading to speculation concerning infant sacrifice. It is not yet known, though, how the infants met their deaths.
Any definitive answer will need to await further findings. Religion and Mythology Monument 19, from La Venta, the earliest known representation of a feathered serpent in Mesoamerica. Olmec religious activities were performed by a combination of rulers, full-time priests, and shamans.
The rulers seem to have been the most important religious figures, with their links to the Olmec deities or supernaturals providing legitimacy for their rule. There is also considerable evidence for shamans in the Olmec archaeological record, particularly in the so-called "transformation figures".
Olmec mythology has left no documents comparable to the Popul Vuh from Maya mythology, and therefore any exposition of Olmec mythology must rely on interpretations of surviving monumental and portable art and comparisons with other Mesoamerican mythologies.
Olmec art shows that such deities as the Feathered Serpent and a rain supernatural were already in the Mesoamerican pantheon in Olmec times. The feathered serpent can be found throughout Mesoamerican Mythology - also known as QuetzalcoatlKukulcan, Viracocha, among other gods played by the same soul in various guises.
Pyramids of Mesoamerica Maize God, Man of Crops Divinely sanctioned authority derived from the intimate relationship between maize agriculture and the rituals performed to ensure its abundance. The earliest kings were portrayed wearing the regalia of the Maize God, embodying sacred power that guaranteed abundant crops.
This richly dressed figure of an Olmec lord is one of the earliest such portrayals. Above his headband he wears the cleft mask of the Olmec Maize God.The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life invited brothers Christopher and Peter Hitchens to address the question of whether civilization needs God.
Agricultural Innovation in the Early Islamic World: The Diffusion of Crops and Farming Techniques, (Cambridge Studies in Islamic Civilization) 1st Edition.
This lavishly illustrated book presents a coherent and fascinating account of the Indus Valley civilization that will appeal to specialists and non-specialists alike.
A Big, Beautiful Midcentury Map Celebrating American Folklore "This map, by social realist artist William Gropper, was created to showcase the .
Topic: Comparing and Contrasting ancient China, India, Mesopotamia, and Egypt, River Valley Civilization: Silk, hieroglyphics, polytheism, architects, and even plumbing; what do these simple words mean to the world and to some of the world’s most important historical civilizations to ever leslutinsduphoenix.coms: Ancient Greek civilization - The later Archaic periods: Dealings with opulent Asian civilizations were bound to produce disparities in wealth, and hence social conflicts, within the aristocracies of Greece.
One function of institutions such as guest-friendship was no doubt to ensure the maintenance of the charmed circle of social and economic privilege.