Household and Ritual in the Eastern Olmec Heartland

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 80th Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA (2015)

The Olmec (1200-400) are one of the best-known early complex societies in Mesoamerica, yet scholars know very little about the organization of their social, economic, ritual, and political systems. This can be attributed to the fact that most fieldwork has been conducted in elite areas of large centers, and we lack household scale data from smaller sites. Recent investigations at the Middle Formative sites of Los Soldados and Arroyo Pesquero help resolve this bias by collecting household and ritual data at a medium sized site and a special purpose site in the La Venta region. The papers in this session utilize data from subsurface testing (GPR and augering) and excavations to reveal information on economic, ritual, and political organization of Middle Formative Olmec in the Eastern Heartland.

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  • Documents (8)

  • A ear of corn of jade from Arroyo Pesquero, sacred offering (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Henri Bernard.

    There are many objects in olmec-style with iconography in public and private collections outside of Mexico attributed to the archaeological site of Arroyo Pesquero, a remarkable site known for its beautiful offerings on hard stones (jade, serpentine) especially masks, has been the subject of few campaigns of archaeological research in 1969 a short stay for the Archaeologist Manuel Torres and in recent years by the Arroyo Pesquero Archaeological Project directed by Carl Wendt, in that project, in...

  • Las figurillas cerámicas de Los Soldados, Veracruz: Una evidencia de la relación cultural y de identidad de una comunidad Olmeca. (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only María Higueras.

    En el sitio arqueológico Los Soldados en el estado de Veracruz, México se recolectaron 450 fragmentos de figurillas de barro, fruto de 4 temporadas de investigación del Proyecto Arqueológico Arroyo Pesquero. El sitio Los Soldados pertenece al periodo Formativo Medio (900-500 a.C.), es un sitio Olmeca situado a 11km al suroeste de La Venta y a 5km al norte de la localización del sitio Arroyo Pesquero. Las figurillas de barro como material arqueológico han aportado información para poder observar...

  • The Middle to Late Formative Olmec Chipped-Stone Assemblage from Los Soldados, Veracruz, Mexico (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Charles Knight.

    The use of chipped-stone in domestic Olmec contexts has only recently become a focus of archaeological investigation. With the publication of data on the chipped-stone assemblages from the Olmec centers of San Lorenzo and Tres Zapotes in the last few years, a picture emerges of great diversity in materials consumed and technologies used by commoners and non-commoners alike. The Middle to Late Formative household chipped-stone assemblage from the 2010 excavations at Los Soldados, in the...

  • Observations Concerning Ash-Tempered Pottery from the Archaeological Site of Los Soldados (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Edgar Huerta.

    The use of volcanic ash as temper in Olmec pottery is generally known, unfortunately its temporal and spatial distribution at the site and regional levels remains poorly understood in the Gulf lowland regions. This paper presents the results of conventional microscopy and thin section petrographic analysis identifying the distribution of ash temper within the Los Soldados' pottery assemblage. This is done with an attempt to illustrate the relationship of ash temper in proportion to other paste...

  • Olmec Archaeology in the Arroyo Pesquero Region (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Carl Wendt.

    Studies on the Olmec frequently focus on the ostentatious nature of the society such as large centers and monumental works of art, often ignoring the important role of smaller sites in regional hierarchies. In order to remedy this bias, we initiated the Proyecto Arqueológico Arroyo Pesquero, which is investigating sites in the Eastern Olmec Heartland. This project is unique in Olmec studies in that it takes a bottom-up approach to the study of the Middle Formative Olmec by collecting...

  • An Olmec Cylinder Seal from Los Soldados (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Hirokazu Kotegawa.

    In 2010, a young man from the Ejido Diaz Ordáz found a Prehispanic clay cylinder eroding out of a road cut in the Olmec site of Los Soldados. Although the exact archaeological provenience is not secure, we consider the object belonging to the Olmec culture through other data obtained by the Proyecto Arqueológico Arroyo Pesquero-Los Soldados. The artifact is of particular importance because of the unique images presented on this artifact, which appears to constitute a domestic scene. We know of...

  • Patterns of Plant Use at Los Soldados and Beyond (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Jennifer Alvarado. Amber VanDerwarker.

    There has been much speculation regarding the nature of agriculture and subsistence among the Formative Gulf Coastal Olmec, and regional subsistence reconstructions based on primary plant data are now beginning to bear fruit. Recent excavations in the rural Olmec heartland and the neighboring Sierra de los Tuxtlas have yielded pertinent archaeobotanical data that have revealed considerable local variation in plant foodways. We build on these studies by presenting archaeobotanical data from Los...

  • Subsurface Spatial Signatures of the Quotidian from the Olmec Heartland: Insights from Ground-penetrating Radar Surveys of the Los Soldados site, Veracruz. (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Edward Henry. Bryan Haley. Andrew Shensky. Carl J. Wendt.

    Archaeological examinations of the Olmec civilization in the tropical lowlands of Mexico have focused largely on the elite and grandiose aspects of the society. Research conducted through the PAAP instead chose to explore non-monumental aspects of the Olmec. Investigations of the Los Soldados site in southern Veracruz included ground-penetrating radar (GPR) surveys of four areas. Although GPR is a geophysical method not often successful in tropical lowland settings, it proved successful in the...