Clearing -- or perhaps roiling -- the murky and often contentious waters of Mesoamerican archeology, a study of 3,000-year-old pottery provides new evidence that the Olmec may not have been the mother culture after all.
Writing this week (Aug. 1, 2005) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), a team of scientists led by University of Wisconsin-Madison archeologist James B. Stoltman presents new evidence that shows the Olmec, widely regarded as the creators of the first civilization in Mesoamerica, imported pottery from other nearby cultures. The finding undermines the view that the Olmec capitol of San Lorenzo near the Gulf of Mexico was the sole source of the iconographic pottery produced by the earliest Mesoamerican civilizations.
"At issue here is trade pottery," says Stoltman, an emeritus professor of anthropology and an archeologist more familiar with the ancient native cultures of the Southeastern and Midwestern United States.
James B. Stoltman | EurekAlert!
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