The Olmec: Precusors to Mesoamerican History

The Central Olmec region

A markerCoarzacoalcos, Mexico -
Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz, Mexico
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This lowland area of Mexico is the area that the ancient Olmec inhabited.

The Olmec are known for their exquiste artifacts

This classic head is central to the idea that at least some of the Olmec came from Africa. There are literally dozens of heads like this.
This classic head is central to the idea that at least some of the Olmec came from Africa. There are literally dozens of heads like this.
Given the flow of Atlantic currents and storm tracks, it would be easy to see how ancient sea travelers could literally be blown into the western hemisphere from Africa
Given the flow of Atlantic currents and storm tracks, it would be easy to see how ancient sea travelers could literally be blown into the western hemisphere from Africa
These ancient incised glyphs are associated with the Olmec and bear some similarities to Maya glyphs.
These ancient incised glyphs are associated with the Olmec and bear some similarities to Maya glyphs.
This figurine of a wrestler is true to nature and depicts the anatomical sculpting skill of the Olmec artisan.
This figurine of a wrestler is true to nature and depicts the anatomical sculpting skill of the Olmec artisan.
This is a figurine of a crawling Olmec baby and it also shows skill and appreciation for natural anatomy.
This is a figurine of a crawling Olmec baby and it also shows skill and appreciation for natural anatomy.
This Olmec tree of life artifact shows similarity to the Maya art that followed.
This Olmec tree of life artifact shows similarity to the Maya art that followed.
This is one of the largest pyramids in Mesoamerica and this one is attributed to the Olmec.
This is one of the largest pyramids in Mesoamerica and this one is attributed to the Olmec.
This single piece jade mask is attributed to the Olmec and may have served as a funerary mask for an important people. This one is less negroid than the giant heads. This is a hint of cultural cross over between the Olmec and Maya.
This single piece jade mask is attributed to the Olmec and may have served as a funerary mask for an important people. This one is less negroid than the giant heads. This is a hint of cultural cross over between the Olmec and Maya.
This sensitively done sculptured figurine shows the artistic skill of the Olmec in anatomy and in the expression of emotion and frozen action.
This sensitively done sculptured figurine shows the artistic skill of the Olmec in anatomy and in the expression of emotion and frozen action.
Here is another action figurine carved by an ancient Olmec artist. There are a large number of such carvings in many materials.
Here is another action figurine carved by an ancient Olmec artist. There are a large number of such carvings in many materials.
Olmec skill extended into everyday items like this vase that depicts a fish.
Olmec skill extended into everyday items like this vase that depicts a fish.
The Olmec were also expert potters as demonstrated in this bottle.
The Olmec were also expert potters as demonstrated in this bottle.

There is little doubt that the Olmec were extremely sophisticated.

The Olmec, which translated via the Aztecs, means “rubber people”, were the inspiration behind the other four great main Mesoamerican civilizations namely the Toltec, the Aztecs, the Maya and the Inca, with a decided leaning toward the Maya, who may have been an outgrowth of the Olmec for reasons s we shall explore. We explore them simply because of their profound influence on everything that followed. They were a Pre-Columbian civilization living in the tropical lowlands of south-central Mexico, near the modern-day cities of Veracruz and Tabasco close to the coast before it turns east in the Yucatan peninsula. The Olmec flourished during Mesoamerica's formative period, dating approximately from as early as 1500 BCE to about 400 BCE. They were the first great Mesoamerican civilization and laid many of the foundations for all the Central and South American civilizations that followed. There is evidence that the Olmec practiced ritual bloodletting, played the Mesoamerican ballgame, which are hallmarks of nearly all subsequent Mesoamerican societies, among other firsts.


We propose a hypothesis insofar that the Olmec were at least in part, immigrants from Africa. The original ship(s) might have been blown by storms onto a far coast and then later formed a more traveled sea trade route. We know from archeological evidence that the Pharaohs of Egypt in the same period, had access to tobacco and coca leaves or their derivative cocaine. As these are indigenous to the Americas, this means that there was some form of trading. Perhaps the reason the Aztecs called them the “rubber people” is that these traders were interested in rubber from the south, had some they brought from Africa and traded that for tobacco and cocoa leaves. We know that the Inca harvested rubber in the Amazon much later, so it was at least indigenous by then. The knowledge of rubber might have been imported as the rubber tree grows naturally in Africa and Asia. The tobacco would have been brought in from the north and the cocoa leaves from the south along with local rubber, which the Olmec would process. Rubber would be offered in exchange from the east via shipping and manufacture, mainly from Africa. An outpost may have been established in Central America that became the later remnants of the Olmec empire. They did not attempt to conquer the region as they did not have the means to project power like the later Spanish. Also they lacked the numbers, which would only come later, likely through interbreeding with locals. They were more or less on an equal footing with the inhabitants that far outnumbered them. The fact that they settled in swampland that needed development and likely improved it, suggests that they didn't force their way into already occupied better territory. The fact that they left behind extremely sophisticated artifacts, including a massive pyramid, attests to their skill and specialization. They managed to build an outpost of supreme civilized organization that later spread to other tribes in all directions. It may be possible that the pyramid idea came with them from Egypt. We know for instance, that both Egyptians and Phoenicians were capable of sea voyages and this idea was recently vindicated with a reconstruction of an Egyptian boat that put to sea and proved capable of deep sea travel. The question now arises, why rubber? The ball game they played and later adopted by the Maya and Aztecs, may have used a large rubber ball. Rubber has other uses as well and likely found its way on roof tops as water-proofing and resilient footwear. Bear mind, this is speculative, based on why they were called the “rubber people”, by the later Aztecs. The Aztecs being much later, got their information from the Maya who had been around much longer, long enough in history to be in contact with the mysterious (to us) Olmec.


As the Maya had settled the region and had been farming for a millennium before the Olmec set up shop, scouts would have seen them approach just as they did much later when the Spanish arrived. The Maya had been in place by 2500 BCE and were around by 1500 BCE when the first Olmec settlement became established. The organized May city states emerged shorty after the Olmec civilization waned. The Maya were obviously in the same location and in the historical context with the Olmec, likely picking up on a lot of their ideas and trading directly with them. Trade was not uncommon among the First Nations peoples from all over the hemisphere. We know this though archaeology that has been going on since at least the advent of the second wave of the Clovis people some 12,000 years ago.


The most familiar aspect of the Olmec that has come down to our period is their artwork, particularly the colossal heads. Examination of these heads shows that in part at least, that there is a strong negroid presence in the culture. There are other forms as well, but we cannot escape the mysterious existence of negroid heads likely carved in homage to someone of great power. It may well be possible that there were explorers long before Europeans and Vikings to this part of the world. Some may have set up permanent communities. The Olmec civilization was first defined through artifacts found and sold on the pre-Columbian art market during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Olmec artworks are considered among ancient America's most striking, mysterious and beautiful, and world class historical masterpieces.


The Olmec heartland is an archaeological term used to describe an area in the south western Gulf lowlands that is lately generally considered the birthplace of the Olmec culture. This area is dominated by swampy lowlands, punctuated by low hills, ridges, and volcanoes. The Tuxtlas Mountains rise sharply in the north, near the Gulf of Mexico's Bay of Campeche. At this location, the Olmec constructed permanent city-temple complexes at San Lorenzo Tenochtitlán, La Venta, Tres Zapotes, and Laguna de los Cerros. It is in this locale that the first Mesoamerican civilization would emerge and reign from 1400 BCE to 400 BCE. Through all of their existence in this region, the Maya lived in all the surrounding regions; thus the Maya had constant contact with the Olmec. We may likely find Maya recordings to vindicate such an idea. To learn of this, one would need to contact a professional Mayanologist who specializes in Mayan culture in its entirety.


What is called Olmec first appears within the city of San Lorenzo Tenochtitlán. This is where distinctive Olmec features first appear around 1400 BCE. The rise of civilization here was promoted by the local ecology of well watered alluvial soils as well as by the transportation network provided by the Coatzacoalcos River basin. This environment compares with those other ancient centers of civilization; the Nile, Indus, Yellow River valley, and Mesopotamia. This highly productive environment encouraged expansion and a densely concentrated population, which in turn triggered the rise of an elite class due to the creation of surplus value and specialization as a result. It is clearly evident by what was left behind by way of exquisite carving that this was not a subsistence nor a hunter-gatherer culture. Artwork of such skill, plus other discoveries and practices prove beyond a doubt that this was at one time a high ranking civilization that was sedentary enough and long enough to produce such works.


It was this specialized elite class that provided the social basis for the production of the symbolic and sophisticated luxury artifacts that define Olmec culture. Many of these luxury artifacts were not made from locally available material. These were made of materials, such as jade, obsidian and magnetite, which came from distant locations and suggest that early Olmec elites had access to an extensive trading network in Mesoamerica. This is another hallmark of a powerful civilization. The source of the most valued jade, is found in the Motagua River valley in eastern Guatemala. Olmec obsidian has been traced to sources in the Guatemala highlands, such as El Chayal and San Martín Jilotepeque, or in Puebla. These sources were located at distances ranging from 200 to 400 km away. Though jungles complete with crocodiles, alligators and jaguars, the trek of this distance would have been a challenge. Recall Cortez and Pizzaro who took many months to travel short distances through steaming jungles.


The first Olmec center, San Lorenzo, was all but abandoned by around 900 BCE around the same time that La Venta rose to prominence. Destruction of many of the San Lorenzo monuments also occurred around 950 BCE, which may point to an internal revolt or, less likely, an invasion from outside. Most likely, and supported by later events in other cases, is that environmental changes may have been the culprit for this shift in Olmec centers, when certain important rivers changed course or other influences like changes in rainfall patterns that disrupted agricultural production. What we know of climate change in other regions that affected other nations, make this the most likely scenario.


Following the decline of San Lorenzo, La Venta became the most prominent Olmec center, lasting from 900 BCE until its abandonment around 400 BCE some 500 years later. La Venta sustained the Olmec cultural traditions with spectacular displays of power and wealth. The Great Pyramid found there was the largest Mesoamerican structure of its time, only surpassed later by El Mirador. Even after 2500 years of erosion, it rises 34 meters above the naturally flat landscape. Buried deep within jungle reclaimed La Venta, lay opulent, labor-intensive offerings such as 1000 tons of smooth serpentine blocks, large mosaic pavements and at least 48 separate deposits of polished jade celts, pottery, figurines, and hematite mirrors. Clearly these are remnants of an advanced culture!


It is not known with any clear certainty what caused the gradual and eventual extinction of the Olmec culture. It is known that between 400 BCE and 350 BCE, population in the eastern half of the Olmec heartland dropped precipitously while the Maya city states started to rise in the same era. The area would afterword remain sparsely inhabited until the 19th century. It is considered that this depopulation was likely the result of a very serious environmental changes that rendered the region unsuitable for large groups of farmers. In particular, there are known changes to the river and tributary environment over the period that the Olmec depended upon for irrigation of agricultural lands, for hunting and gathering and for transportation. Ideas proposed by archaeologists suggest that these changes were triggered by earthquakes, or the silting up of rivers due to agricultural practices. One theory for the considerable population drop during the “Terminal Formative period” is suggested by Santley et al in 1997, which proposes shifts in settlement relocation due to volcanism instead of extinction. Volcanic eruptions during the early, late and “Terminal Formative periods” would have blanketed the lands with ash and forced the Olmec to relocate their settlements. The entire region is geologically active today, so this would not be surprising. The disappearance of the Olmec, except those that bred and integrated with the Maya, were spared the horrors of the much later Spanish conquest


Whatever the ultimate cause was, within a few hundred years of the abandonment of the last Olmec cities, successor Maya city state cultures had become firmly established. The Tres Zapotes site, on the western edge of the Olmec heartland, continued to be occupied well past 400 BCE, but without the hallmarks of the Olmec culture. The post Olmec culture, often labeled Epi-Olmec, has features similar to those found at Izapa, some 550 kilometers to the southeast. The Olmec may have been the very first civilization in the Western Hemisphere to develop a writing system and if they were indeed from Africa, imbued with Egyptian culture, this would not be surprising. Symbols found in 2002 and 2006 date to 650 and 900 BCE respectively, preceding the oldest Zapotec writing dated to about 500 BCE. Indeed, the Zapotec may have learned from the Olmec.


The 2002 find at the San Andrés site shows a bird, speech scrolls, and glyphs that are similar to the later Mayan hieroglyphs building a strong link to the lineage from Olmec to Maya. Known as the Cascajal Block, the 2006 find from a site near San Lorenzo, shows a set of 62 symbols, 28 of which are completely unique, carved on one of the found serpentine blocks. A large number of prominent archaeologists have since hailed this find as the "earliest pre-Columbian writing". Others though are skeptical because of the stone's singularity, the fact that it had been removed from any archaeological context, and because it bears no apparent resemblance to any other existing Mesoamerican writing system. However, we do not view this as a problem for reasons we mention. In Africa and other regions there are a plethora of writing systems and characters.


There are also well-documented later hieroglyphs known as the "Epi-Olmec" characters, and while there are some who believe that Epi-Olmec may represent a transitional script between an earlier Olmec writing system and Mayan writing, the matter remains unsettled. We are interested in any record of the Olmec that the Maya may have inscribed. Unfortunately, some of this history may have been permanently lost with the mass book burning of Maya literature by the Spanish and Catholic Church. We now have some idea that the May got their long count calendar and the concept of zero from the Olmec.


The Mesoamerican Long Count Calendar and Invention of the Zero Concept


Located on the back of Stela C from Tres Zapotes the second oldest Long Count date yet was discovered. The numerals written in Maya glyphs; 7.16.6.16.18 translate to September 3rd, 32 BCE in the Julian calendar. The glyphs surrounding the date are one of the few surviving examples of Epi-Olmec script.


The Long Count calendar used by many subsequent Mesoamerican civilizations, as well as the concept of zero, may have been devised by the Olmec who could have had it a very long time. As the six artifacts with the earliest Long Count calendar dates were all discovered outside the immediate Maya homeland, it is likely that this calendar predated the Maya and was possibly the invention, or something possessed of and by the Olmec. Three of the six artifacts were found within the Olmec heartland later taken over by the Maya. An argument against an Olmec origin is the fact that the Olmec civilization had ended by the 4th century BCE, but we see this as no problem due to the active trade in virtually all other areas.


The Long Count calendar required the use of the zero as a place holder within its base-20 positional numeral system. A shell glyph, was used as a zero symbol for these Long Count dates. The second oldest of of these long counts was found on Stela C at Tres Zapotes and is dated to 32 BCE. This is one of the earliest uses of the zero concept in history on the par with the Hindus who also had a zero and vastly predates the Muslim mathematical system that also had a zero concept.


The Mesoamerican ballgame


The Olmec, or the "rubber people" in the Nahuatl language of the Aztecs, are strong candidates for originating the Mesoamerican ballgame that was so prevalent among later cultures of the region. The ballgame is central to Maya culture with great ball courts located at the center of their cities, which were used for recreational and religious purposes. A dozen large rubber balls dating to 1600 BCE or earlier have been found in El Manatí, an Olmec sacrificial bog 10 kilometers east of San Lorenzo Tenochtitlan. These balls predate the earliest ball court yet discovered at Paso de la Amada, in existence and use by 1400 BCE. However, there is no completed certainty that they were used in the ballgame except for the fact of logic and that the Maya used it continuously thereafter. We have already shown the close contact between the Maya and Olmec. By the time of the Maya, the ball game had reached a point of great sophistication and was loaded with celestial meaning. The Maya as we have learned, were a sky obsessed culture.


Who Were the Olmecs

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Comments 16 comments

christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 6 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

Fascinating stuff.I wonder how all these civilisations might have developed if their isolution from the europeans had been maintained for another few hundred years. Perhaps then you might be writing about the Mesoamerican conquest of Europe. History is a strange subject.


syzygyastro profile image

syzygyastro 6 years ago from Vancouver, Canada Author

It has been stated that nations like the Inca, Olmec and Aztec were at the point of the next great leap forward. If European arrival had indeed been delayed. Who knows? What we do know by way of the theory of the permanent revolution is that when handed a rifle ready to shoot, the First Nations effectively jumped over all the preliminary development stages needed to get their own. For reasons of strategy between three European competitors, they got them ready made and were instantly on the level of the Europeans. Even with this, they eventually failed due something they could not grasp; i.e., germ warfare. Nor did they in the main grasp the concept of destroying the entire food supply. Had they these advances, the playing field would have been more even. such as in the time of the Olmec, who were on an even playing field and did not take over all of the continents even after a millennium.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 6 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY

Great stuff. I know less about the Olmecs than about the Aztecs and Incans. I never knew they invented the concept of 'zero'. Could they have been African immigrants? There's so much we don't know.


syzygyastro profile image

syzygyastro 6 years ago from Vancouver, Canada Author

The evidence is to the positive that they were African in origin. Part of my research is to determine the cause of their decline and eventual disappearance. Apparently they lived in harmony with the May for a thousand years until the decline and Maya increase that coincide in history.


alicynx profile image

alicynx 5 years ago

No mention of the Toltecs? Tsk tsk ^_^

Also, do you have any background on the new architecture being discovered in the Brazilian forests that suggest not only cultures predating the Olmec, but also throwing into question the methods for populating the 'new world' via the Bering landbridge?


syzygyastro profile image

syzygyastro 5 years ago from Vancouver, Canada Author

This hub concentrated on the Olmecs, but now that you mention the Toltecs, I'll draft a hub. As for discoveries in the Amazon, that is interesting. There are also discoveries in central Africa of human habitations dating back between 100,000 to 200,000 years ago. We're still finding things out.

Also keep your eyes open for an upcoming hub on the Maya cycles of time and how they relate to the sky. It's not what most people have been led to believe. Right now I'm vindicating ideas with hard facts from research and views of past Mayan skies.


mintinfo profile image

mintinfo 4 years ago

The Olmec were descendants of the AfRAkan Vai people. The Vai left Egypt when the Persians and Assyrians started to invade AfRAka. The Vai are also responsible for the Long Count calender that the Mayans used and are famous for today.


Sebastian 4 years ago

Some of your photos are erroneously labeled! The pyramid you label as being built by the Olmecs is El Castillo from Chichen Itza, a PostClassic Maya site, NOT an Olmec pyramid at all!! Also, the figurine that you label as a "sensitively done sculptured figurine" is from the indigenous Mississippian cultures of the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex in the southeastern United States, you bafoon!! Also, there is no evidence that the Olmeca were descendants from the Vai people of Africa; that is just another way to take away autonomy, independence, innovation, knowledge, and "civilization" from the indigenous peoples of what is now called the Americas. Your argument demonstrates the underlying racist rhetoric that the indigenous peoples of the Americas could never have come up with the arts, systems of writing, the calendar, etc. without some outside, Old World culture traveling to the New World and bringing these things to them.

Also, "Olmec" is a Nahuatl term meaning "people from the land of rubber," not "rubber people." Your misinformation, mislabeling, and genuine misunderstanding of these cultures, their history and formation is troubling.


syzygyastro profile image

syzygyastro 4 years ago from Vancouver, Canada Author

@ Sebastian" I back refer you to the second paragraph that states "We propose a hypothesis insofar that the Olmec were at least in part, immigrants from Africa." So in other words, this is a scientific guess as to the possible source only and admittedly, more proof is required. There is at this time, much speculation for this period. I suggest that you write a counter article with references instead of hurling insults as to my buffoonery and racism. You do not know me and the struggles I have engaged against racism to have you insult me on this public forum. In one way it is fortunate that you are not a member of hubpages, for if you were, I would be reporting you. If you do become a member, might I suggest that you do some referenced research into the topics that you wish to challenge instead of using derogatory attacks against someone you know absolutely nothing about. Further, If some things are in error, as they are often are due to a record trampled on by conquering religious bigots and racists from Europe that blurred much of what we are attempting to rebuild of all of these great cultures. Recent evidence suggests that the Maya had city states as far north as what is now called Georgia in the US. This in itself is very interesting and would alter a lot of what we have come to know and assume. Do something constructive instead of mudslinging!


wba108@yahoo.com profile image

wba108@yahoo.com 4 years ago from upstate, NY

It seems likely that given the prevailing winds and the relatively short distance between North Africa and South America, that at least a few ships made it to South America before Columbus' voyage. Whether they could have ever returned to Africa is another question altogether.

My thinking on this matter is, how did the people arrive in the america's in the first place, some must have arrived by boat? I'm not a scientist, so its hard for me to distinguish truth from myth.


syzygyastro profile image

syzygyastro 4 years ago from Vancouver, Canada Author

At around 1500 BCE a great natural disaster befell the Mediterranean basin that wound up causing the exodus of many surrounding regions. People fled generally east and west. Those that fled west took to ships and some wound up in the Yucatan region because of natural prevailing currents. An active trade of sorts evolved over the centuries until the Olmec period ended and was superseded by the Maya culture that coincidentally can trace its source to the same era.


Sebastian 4 years ago

Hello Syzygyastro,

First of all, I want to apologize if you were personally offended by my previous comments. I just get so frustrated with this narrative that the indigenous peoples' of Mesoamerica could not have produced, created, and invented the magnificent cultural achievements that have been archaeologically and scientifically verified. If I was a bit harsh, it was only because I have been bombarded lately with this very same narrative. So I do apologize.

Now, as you readily admit, what you and others have proposed lacks much evidence, and I became even more frustrated by your hypotheses when pyramids are mislabeled (El Castillo at Chichen is Maya, not Olmec; not the same people, not the same culture, not even the same region or time period), when a figurine from the southeastern United States is labeled Olmec, when you ask me for references but provide none of your own, and when you confuse cultures and then conjecture on "facts." I have been studying ancient and modern Mesoamerica for over a decade now, as a doctoral student in art history and as a descendant of the indigenous, Spanish, and African slaves (beginning in the 16th and 17th centuries) of Mexico. I did not intend to call you racist, just the narrative that you are propagating. Anyways, if you would like references as to the multiple errors of your hypothesis, I would be glad to send you a list of articles, books, and academic journals from the US, Mexico and Guatemala that may point us in the right direction.

I willingly admit my faults, and I apologize for any hurt feelings that I may have caused. But please consider the way that you have presented this "evidence" on this page because when several items have been erroneously attributed to the Olmec culture (which, by the way, is still debated as to what that actually means- is it solely a shared iconographic style between disparate groups (because "Olmec" art appears in various regions of ancient Mesoamerica so we know that it was being produced by culturally and ethnically distinct groups) or was it being created in Olman and then traded to other regions?), it is difficult to believe anything in your information. Anyways, I apologize again for insulting you; I am truly sorry. I hope that we can one day arrive at more truth about the magnificent indigenous cultures of the ancient Americas.

Sebastian Huidobro


Borhegyi 4 years ago

Regarding the image you depict of the Olmec tree of Life, from the Mixtec Selden Codex. My belief is that the artist has depicted a Mesoamerican version of a scene from Vedic Hindu mythology known as, "The Churning of the Milk Ocean"

The page in the Codex Selden, depicts a scene that I feel quite certain, represents a Mesoamericanized version of the Hindu inspired creation myth known as The Churning of the Milk Ocean. The complex scene on the page is first and foremost divided into three sections, separating the upper world, from the underworld, and the middle world from which the tree emerges. The upper world is depicted and framed at the corners of the page with a sky band depicting disembodied eyes, which represent the soul of the deified ancestral dead as the stars above. Framing in the bottom portion of the page is a two-headed feline/serpent, depicted with a stylized design of criss-crossing bands which can be linked to a Maya verb jal, which means create, (Coe; p.163). The dual headed serpent which frames the bottom of the page also surrounds a body of water that I believe represents the so-called Milk ocean of Hindu mythology. Emerging from this sea of creation (note waves) is a tree depicting a single eye, and intertwined serpents, emerging from a sacred altar platform that depicts a band of stylized step glyphs, symbolizing the descent and emergence from the underworld. Coiled around the trunk and branches of this sacred tree is a two-headed serpent, which depicts feline fangs symbolizing the serpents descent into and out from the underworld. The serpents feline attributes represent the underworld transformation that takes place prior to the Sun God's resurrection from the underworld. The central portion of the scene likely symbolize middle earth, from which the Tree of Life emerges. The codex scene depicts two main characters or deities sitting on opposite sides of the tree. I believe they symbolize both the God of Life and the God of death. The God of Life and god of the upper world sits at the left of the tree. He appears to have emerged from the mouth of the serpent below him at left. Opposite the God of Life, on the other side of the tree is the God of Death, who has emerged from the mouth of the serpent with the feline head.

Both deities hold in their hands a ritual sacrament, to be eaten or offered as a gift to the Tree of Life, from which the Sun God is reborn and immortality is obtained.

At the top of the page we see the newly born Sun God emerge from a V-shaped cleft depicted in the upper branches of the Tree of Life. To the right of the Sun God in the upper right hand corner of the page is an icon that is shaped like a drinking vessel that bears a symbol of five points beneath the vessel that refers to the so-called "fiveness" of Venus, referring to the planets five sonodic cycles, noted by scholars in the Dresden Codex. I believe that this symbol is linked to the Soma ritual and the sacred day Ahau, in the Venus calendar, when Venus is first visible rising from the Underworld as the Morning Star. I would argue that this Venus resurrection ritual is intimately connected with the Soma beverage and Soma sacrifices mentioned in the Rig Veda. The symbol to the left of the Sun God, and opposite the probable Soma vessel located at the left hand corner of the page is the year sign in the Aztec calendar.

Moving on to the middle portion of the scene, I believe the sequence of events, reads from right to left, and is as follows. Just to the right of the altar platform from which the Tree of Life emerges, there is a bleeding turtle just above a body of water I believe refers to the "Milk Ocean" in Hindu mythology. The bleeding turtle is located just below the deity identified as the God of Death and the Underworld. The bleeding turtle in this scene represents the sacrificial victim, whose shell or carapace in this scene will be the sacred portal linked to immortality and divine resurrection. The turtle's bloody heart can be seen sitting on top of the altar platform just to the left of the tree, as a sacrificial gift to the Gods of Life and Death who are responsible at times completion for the death and daily rebirth and resurrection of the Sun God. Note that the three turtle carapaces depicted in the primordial sea moving from right to left, under the Tree of Life, is a reference to the three hearthstones of creation, and that the turtle carapace located on the far left just below Tlaloc's severed head appears to have a star symbol inside the shell, which likely alludes to the planet Venus and that the turtle represents Venus as a divine resurrection star.

Just below the Tree of Life, underneath the altar platform is the carapace of the turtle with the head of a feline emerging, symbolizing the turtle's transformation in the underworld into the Underworld Jaguar. The sequence of events moves to the left, and then up, with the empty turtle carapace still in the sea, but just above and to the left of the altar platform is a stylized severed head, associated with the ritual act of decapitation. The stylized severed head bears the image of the Mexican Rain and Lightening God Tlaloc, who also represents the God of the Underworld and thus he represents the god of underworld decapitation, as the Evening Star aspect of the planet Venus. Tlaloc's severed head in this scene is stylized to represent a divine star reborn from the Underworld. Tlaloc can be easily identified in this scene by his trademark goggled eyes, feline fangs, and handlebar mustache. Those who died for Tlaloc or were under his watchful eye, went directly to his divine paradise called Tlalocan.

The Soma ritual was an integral part of Vedic religion where Soma was drunk by the priesthood during sacrifices. Verses in the Rig Veda refer to Soma as the "single eye", the eye of the sun, symbolism, that can be clearly seen above in the Selden Codex, and in the iconography at Teotihuacan in the highlands of Mexico (the disembodied eye).


syzygyastro profile image

syzygyastro 4 years ago from Vancouver, Canada Author

New discoveries are emerging all the time that will help to clarify things. It is unfortunate that almost all of the record was destroyed by bigoted missionaries centuries ago. But, we have been able to piece much together over the last 120 to 130 years. Not everything has been accounted for and there has been some confusion to say the least. There are mounds and pyramids being found in continental N. America that are are very Mayan in appearance and construction. These date back over a thousand years. At this point, it is all very new and research has just begun. More information is surfacing on the Mayan calendar as well and increasing clarity is emerging. It is too bad that conquerors ended up destroying everything they could in a bid to erase the history of all these peoples.

The Maya I'm sure, still have the knowledge almost intact, including their experience with the Olmec, Toltecs, Aztecs and many others. They also retain the secrets of their long researched insights and wisdom. Given the time it took the Spanish to completely overturn all the Maya city states, I would not be surprised that a full written Mayan copy or copies of their libraries still exist hidden away in the desert, much like ancient scrolls of the Jews were protected from the imperialist conquerors of their day. Will we ever get to see such ancient wonders? As long as we keep oppressing the current generations of the Maya and Aztecs, I think not! We will continue to grope in the dark, discovering this or that detail, but lacking the full picture. Until then, it appears we will argue with one another about facts, which in many cases are hard to substantiate outside of self appointed experts.

I do not claim to be an expert, but I do claim to have cracked the Mayan timing system based upon actual sky events. Even here, I'm still discovering new things. For all of us, the final word has not still been written and the jury is still out on many questions. What we do know is fascinating enough and that should be the joy of delving into such interesting discoveries. Our discoveries however, are based on ancient knowledge and understanding that these people knew exactly. It is unfortunate that certain invaders saw fit to elevate ignorance for the purpose of control.


donnie23 3 years ago

Can anyone answer a question for me I would really appreciate it! According to current archeological data which came first the Olmec, Toltec, or Mayan Civilizations?


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syzygyastro 3 years ago from Vancouver, Canada Author

I will be checking this out in more detail. Meanwhild, an incomplete outline can be found here:

http://ancienthistory.about.com/cs/timelinesameric...

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