The Olmecs and the Mayans Comparison Essay by Master Researcher

The Olmecs and the Mayans
A comparison of these two ancient South American civilizations.
# 41747 | 1,150 words | 3 sources | MLA | 2002 | US

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This paper contrasts and compares the Olmec and Mayan civilizations, with a focus on the calendar systems, mathematical properties and architecture in both of these empires. The paper notes their similarities and relates that even though the earlier Olmecs were more primitive, the Mayans built upon their brilliant predecessors.

From the Paper:

"The emergence of Mesoamerican civilization began along a lowland strip of the Mexican Caribbean coast, some 125 miles long and 50 miles wide, near present-day Vera Cruz. Here, by 1200 B.C., food production became efficient enough to support an appreciable number of nonagricultural workers.
"The resulting Olmec civilization, renowned for its large building projects and colossal sculptured stone heads, was centered first at San Lorenzo. The Mayans, although more advanced in architecture, used the Olmec building systems in their own construction. The result is the improvement of efficiency that: "the Olmecs taught, in conjunction with the greater advancements made by the Mayans, large scale designs for their cities and religious shrines." (Coe p.154) After about 900 B.C., when San Lorenzo was destroyed by invaders, the center of the civilization moved to La Venta in Tabasco, until it collapsed at the end of the fourth century B.C. This great city lasted almost five hundred years and proves the durability of the civilization.
"Scattered throughout the Olmec heartland were numerous sparsely populated religious centers, supported by outlying peasant villages. Labor and stone for the massive construction projects, jade for carving, luxury goods, raw materials for the crafts, and food were brought to the centers, often from distant places. The efficiency of the buildings to last throughout time is proven once again and without the Olmec influence the Mayans would have never achieved what they did."

Cite this Comparison Essay:

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The Olmecs and the Mayans (2003, October 28) Retrieved August 20, 2017, from

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"The Olmecs and the Mayans" 28 October 2003. Web. 20 August. 2017. <>