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A map of the Olmec heartland. The yellow sites are known Olmec villages and towns. The smaller red dots mark locations where artifacts or art have been found unassociated with habitation. The river courses and shorelines are modern, as are the names (since we do not know the names the Olmecs used).

The Olmec heartland is the southern portion of Mexico's Gulf Coast region between the Tuxtla mountains and the Olmec archaeological site of La Venta, extending roughly 80 km (50 mi) inland from the Gulf of Mexico coastline at its deepest. It is today, as it was during the height of the Olmec civilization, a tropical lowland forest environment, crossed by meandering rivers.

The Olmec heartland was the home of the Olmec culture, which became widespread over Mesoamerica from about 1400 BCE until roughly 400 BCE.

The major heartland sites are:

Smaller sites include:

Important heartland finds not associated with any archaeological site include:

Note: This is another version of Image:Olmec Heartland Overview v2.svg

Other versions

Part of a series:


  • Arnold III, Philip J. (2002) Location of Isla Agaltepec in the Tuxtla Mountains, Veracruz, Mexico., in "Isla Agaltepec: Postclassic Occupation in the Tuxtla Mountains, Veracruz, México", accessed June 2007 (for elevations).
  • Coe, Michael; Snow, Dean; Benson, Elizabeth; (1986) Atlas of Ancient America; Facts on File, New York, pp. 94-95, (for the locations of the sites).
  • Diehl, Richard A. (2004) The Olmecs: America's First Civilization, Thames & Hudson, London, p.12.
  • Rodríguez Martínez, Ma. del Carmen;Ortíz Ceballos, Ponciano; Coe, Michael D.; Diehl, Richard A.; Houston, Stephen D.; Taube, Karl A.; Calderón, Alfredo Delgado (2006) "Oldest Writing in the New World" in Science, Vol. 313. no. 5793, pp. 1610-1614 (for location of Cascajal).
  • Pool, Christopher A. () Olmec Archaeology and Early Mesoamerica, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press ISBN: 978-0-521-78882-3. (for location of Cobata and Llano del Jicaro)


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current 01:03, 30 December 2007 Thumbnail for version as of 01:03, 30 December 20071,788 × 1,273 (257 KB)Madman2001Added two sites: Cobata and Cascajal, moved Llano del Jicaro west of Laguna de los Cerros, based on information in Pool.
18:52, 7 December 2007 Thumbnail for version as of 18:52, 7 December 20071,788 × 1,273 (255 KB)Madman2001A map of the Olmec heartland. The yellow sites are known villages and towns. The smaller red dots mark locations where artifacts or art have been found unassociated with habitation. The river courses and shorelines are modern,

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