The enigmas of Olmec Civilization: the colossal heads

The Olmecs, people who gave birth to the great culture of Mesoamerica

The origin of the Olmec civilization is unknown: the name itself which means "rubber peoples" was attributed to it by Bernardino of Sahagún, in the first half of the XVI century and identified the indigenous people who lived in the coastal jungle of the Gulf of Mexico and only later extended to the oldest inhabitants of the Veracruz and Tabasco area, probably of Mayan lineage.
The Olmec people would then give life to the great culture of Mesoamerica and invented the writing and numbering systems present, with some variations, also in other Mesoamerican cultures and their artistic production was remarkable, especially in the field of stone sculpture: in the ruins in what was to be the capital of the kingdom,La Venta, there are remains of colonnades and floors made with a mosaic technique.

Olmec_Heartland_Overview_

The wealth of mysterious archaeological finds found in La Venta is unparalleled: it preserves stelae, altars and colossal heads in basalt, material that comes from places more than 100 km away and which was perhaps transported by rafts along the Tonalà river.
The heads realistically represent faces with negroid features, with a headdress similar to a helmet; on the stelae are depicted men and cats; on the altars there are scenes of struggle between humanized men and jaguars. The characters have mostly stocky, massive and often malformed bodies. Typical of Olmec art are the figures in jade and nephrite with a baby-face and those with the upper lip that reveals the teeth and reminiscent of the jaguar (jaguar-face). Often the human face has features of the muzzle of this animal perhaps in relation to religious beliefs that saw in the jaguar an ancestor of the Olmecs. Finally, we should mention the concave mirrors in magnetite and ilmenite, which were also used to produce fire (burning mirrors) and to project images onto a smooth surface.

The Olmec Heads

It is precisely the all round sculptures and the colossal basalt heads that appear to be the most enigmatic finds, since they represent people of non-Amerinda race, but of European, Asian and African race. In fact, many figures on altars and steles have a flowing beard, an uncommon feature for Amerindian peoples, while many sculptures have unequivocal European, Asian and African features.

Detail_of_Olmec_Stone_Heads_Museum_of_Anthropology_Xalapa_Veracruz_Mexico_

According to believers, the enormous basalt heads (and even some statues)n which vary in height from 1.47 to 3.4 m and weigh between 6 and 50 tons, clearly represent individuals with the typical features of African peoples.
The colossal heads are not only present in La Venta, but also in the Olmec settlements of San Lorenzo and Tres Zapotes, which is sobering, especially if you take into account that these last two settlements are 1600 km away from each other.
Among other things, there are an infinite number of figurines representing small individuals with Mongolian features: although they may appear to be children, it is clear that they are not as many of them have a thick beard. numerous stems representing individuals with European and Asian features, often with long beards, and sometimes even dressed, particularly in contrast to the fact that the Olmecs used to always represent naked or semi-naked individuals. This could be evidence of the fact that the ethnic group that made up the Olmecs was of a multiracial type including people of African, Asian and European races.

Olmec Colossal Heads and their secrets

But if, officially, the non-Amerindian races began to populate those areas only after the discovery of America, while the Olmecs existed from 1500 to 400 BC, how is such a mixture possible?
Moreover, faced with the precision and refinement of some sculptures, it is impossible not to ask how this ancient civilization, which did not yet have materials such as bronze for its tools, managed such artistic perfection with tools made of stone.
Is maybe institutional archeology hiding something from us?

Another major issue raised is how the ancient Olmecs carried these colossal heads since the nearest place where the ancient Olmecs could have obtained the necessary material is Tuxtla Sierra, a group of volcanoes located in the southern part of Veracruz. about 70 kilometers from where the Olmec chiefs were originally found and which, according to history, the ancient Olmces did not have knowledge of the wheel.

According to the researchers, there are two possible alternative explanations:

  • the ancient Olmec civilization would have used wooden rollers that were placed under the rock to minimize friction and facilitate transport. But if that were true, it would take a great deal of wood and human labor to move a stone weighing over 40 tons.
  • Assuming that the Olmecs were very skilled navigators, they could have used canoes to transport these huge stones across river routes...But this is speculation with no actual evidence

Olmec_mask_ with_asian_ features

The only certain thing is that in 1869, when José Melgar discovered the colossal carved heads, he noticed that the strange features they had were characteristics atypical for the local natives and similar faces and sculptures have been discovered in Teotihuacan. Mysteriously, these giant heads have all been found buried deep, almost as if their creators wanted to hide them.But why hide them?

Numerous questions concerning the Olmec civilization remain unsolved: how their artisans carved them, transported them and why they "buried" them remains an enigma. This is perhaps why they are one of those finds that traditional archeology tries to leave in limbo.


“Ancient Egypt, like that of the Olmecs (Bolivia), emerged all at once and fully formed. Indeed, the period of transition from primitive to advanced society appears to have been so short that it makes no kind of historical sense. Technological skills that should have taken hundreds or even thousands of years to evolve were brought into use almost overnight-- and with no apparent antecedents whatever. For example, remains from the pre-dynastic period around 3500 BC show no trace of writing. Soon after that date, quite suddenly and inexplicably, the hieroglyphs familiar from so many of the ruins of Ancient Egypt begin to appear in a complete and perfect state. Far from being mere pictures of objects or actions, this written language was complex and structured at the outset, with signs that represented sounds only and a detailed system of numerical symbols. Even the very earliest hieroglyphs were stylized and conventionalized; and it is clear that an advanced cursive script was it common usage by the dawn of the First Dynasty.”

― Graham Hancock, Fingerprints of the Gods: The Evidence of Earth's Lost Civilization

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