Olmec of the Periphery: The Dawning of Creation in the Central Mexican Highlands During the Middle Formative

Author(s): Brendan Stanley

Year: 2017


By 900 BCE, a middle formative Olmec influence projected into the central highlands of Mexico. This became apparent with the 1930’s discovery of the regional center of Chalcatzingo and its monumental architecture created in the Olmec style. Additionally, Olmec style symbolism appeared in the modern Mexican state of Guerrero with outstanding examples like the monumental architecture of Teopanticaunitlan and the cave paintings of Oxtotitlan and Juxtlajuaca. This paper will iconographically analyze the four aforementioned middle formative periphery centers, whose Olmec style architecture, bas-reliefs, and cave paintings link this highland region back to the Olmec heartland.

On the one hand, my hypothesis is that these periphery centers incorporate heartland symbolism and ideology to validate and link their elites to those of Olman. At the same time, the same symbolism displayed at the four sites can be linked thematically, showing a unique cultural fluoresce within this highland periphery. Thematically, the highland symbolism relates to greater Mesoamerican cosmology and, specifically, the belief of the dawning of creation. This paper will attempt to further develop the scholarship of this formative cultural region, arguing that a similar symbolic sequence, or tableaux, illuminates a highland cosmology that incorporates middle formative symbolism of Olman.

Cite this Record

Olmec of the Periphery: The Dawning of Creation in the Central Mexican Highlands During the Middle Formative. Brendan Stanley. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430692)

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Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16550