GenEd 110 Research Paper - Nguyen 1 The Olmecs By Tan Huy...

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Nguyen 1 The Olmecs By Tan Huy Hoang Nguyen Richard Hines World Civilizations I 11 April 2008
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Nguyen 2 Table of Contents I. 3 Introduction .......................................................................................................................... 3 II. 3 THE OLMECS: The Oldest Civilization in Mexico (Book) ............................................... 3 III. 5 The Legacy of Mesoamerica: History and Culture of a Native American Civilization, Second Edition (Encyclopedia) ........................................................................................... 5 IV. 6 Oldest New World Writing Suggests Olmec Innovation (Article) ...................................... 6 V. 7 http://facweb.stvincent.edu/academics/religiousstu/writings/lavin1.htm (Website) ........... 7 VI. 8 Conclusion ........................................................................................................................... 8 VII. 10 Works Cited ....................................................................................................................... 10
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Nguyen 3 I. Introduction Prior to the 1900’s, it was assumed that the Mayans were the first Mesoamerican civilization from which ensuing surrounding area cultures developed from. In 1929, the Director of the Museum of the American Indian in New York, Marshall H. Saville, linked artifacts that were not tied to the Mayan culture. Instead, Mr. Saville claimed that the artifacts belonged to a new civilization that he calls the Olmecs. It is unknown what the people of this newfound civilization actually called themselves. Evidence of the Olmec Civilization date back to 1150 B.C. at Tenochtitlan; evidence such as ball courts where the ancient ball game took place were discovered in the ruins of Olmec settlements. The ball game was adopted by much of subsequent Mesoamerican civilizations such as the Mayans. Olmec mathematicians were extremely clever and developed an accurate calendar, so accurate that it surpasses the one in use today. The Olmec mathematicians developed a counting system as well. The most noticeable of all Olmec artifacts are large figure-heads carved out of stone. These facts have been derived from several sources, each of which will be assessed in the proceeding paragraphs. II. THE OLMECS: The Oldest Civilization in Mexico (Book) The Olmecs: The Oldest Civilization in Mexico is a book about the ancient civilization of the Olmecs written by a French historian, Jacques Soustelle, and translated into English by Helen R. Lane in 1984. In introducing his book, Soustelle builds a thesis comparing the Aztecs to the Romans, the Mayans to the Greeks, and the Olmecs to the Sumerians. Soustelle makes the point that the Aztecs and Mayans were the most
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Nguyen 4 distinguished empires in ancient Mesoamerica, as compared to the Greeks and Romans as being the notorious and documented central powers in the ancient Mediterranean region. Similarly to the Sumerians, the Olmecs remained unknown for a long period of time, but
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This note was uploaded on 06/24/2008 for the course GENED 110 taught by Professor Chan during the Spring '06 term at Washington State University .

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GenEd 110 Research Paper - Nguyen 1 The Olmecs By Tan Huy...

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