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1. Olmec: Colossal Masterworks of
2. Mexico: From the Olmecs to the
3. A History of the African-Olmecs:
4. Mexico: From the Olmecs to the
5. Olmec Art of Ancient Mexico
6. The Ancient Kingdoms of Mexico
7. Ancient Mexico: The History and
8. The Olmecs: America's First Civilization
9. Olmec Art and Archaeology in Mesoamerica
10. The Maya: History and Treasures
11. The Art of Mesoamerica: From Olmec
12. Pre-Columbian trans-Oceanic Contact:
13. Olmec: San Lorenzo Tenochtitlán,
14. The Madrid Codex: New Approaches
15. The Olmec: Mother Culture of Mesoamerica
16. Ancient Chalcatzingo (Texas Pan
17. 16 Olmec Culture: An entry from
18. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of
19. Cities of Ancient America: An
20. Representation Of Deities Of The

1. Olmec: Colossal Masterworks of Ancient Mexico
Hardcover: 272 Pages (2010-10-26)
list price: US$65.00 -- used & new: US$36.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0300166761
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Editorial Review

Product Description

Considered the “mother culture” of Mesoamerica, the Olmec developed an iconic and sophisticated artistic style as early as the second millennium B.C. This pre-Columbian civilization, which flourished in the Mexican states of Veracruz and Tabasco between 1400 and 400 B.C., is best known for the creation of colossal stone portrait heads of its rulers.  Some weighing up to 24 tons, the monumental heads are among ancient America’s most striking and beautiful masterpieces.

In the fifteen years since the last major study of the Olmec, archaeologists have made significant finds at key sites in Mexico. This sweeping project brings together the most recent scholarship, along with a diverse selection of more than 100 monuments, sculptures, adornments, masks, and vessels, many of which have never traveled beyond Mexico’s borders, that paint a rich portrait of life in the most important Olmec centers, including San Lorenzo, La Venta, and Tres Zapotes. Particular attention is paid to the emergence of the culture, distinctive variations in the art of different city sites, and the chronology and reach of the society during its apex.

Centering on the concept of discovery, this wide-ranging volume presents a fresh look at Olmec civilization, recapturing the excitement that greeted the unearthing of the first colossal stone head in 1862.
... Read more

2. Mexico: From the Olmecs to the Aztecs (Ancient Peoples and Places)
by Michael D. Coe
Paperback: 215 Pages (1994-02)
list price: US$18.95 -- used & new: US$5.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0500277222
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
An introduction to Mexico's ancient civilizations. This companion volume to the author's book "The Maya" has been completely revised and expanded. Enlarged sections are included on early village life and the rise of Olmec civilization. Recent discoveries - such as the stela from La Mojarra inscribed in the mysterious Isthmian script or the mass sacrifice of 200 victims at Teotihuacan - receive full coverage. A new chapter on Aztec life and society has also been added. Despite the Spanish Conquest and ensuing epidemics, the natives of Mexico survived through the Colonial period. Describing their struggle in a new epilogue, the author shows how much the character of modern Mexico derives from its Pre-Colombian past. Other work by the author includes "Breaking the Maya Code". ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Review on Coe's "Mexico: From the Olmecs to the Aztecs"
Michael Coe's "Mexico: From the Olmecs to the Aztecs" is a great edition to the growing body of work on Ancient Mexico. It is a well written and logical analysis on the civilizations of Mexico. I have used this book several times to help solidify arguments in various research papers. I would highly recommend this work for anyone interested in the ancient world of Mexico.

5-0 out of 5 stars We did not call ourselves 'Mesoamericans". Nevertheless...
This book makes it clear that the vast majority of the history of "Mexico and Central America" has nothing to do with Europeans or anything "Latin American."

Many readers may be surprised (but really it's just common sense) to learn that we Indigenous people of "Mexican" descent do not call ourselves "Mesoamericans," a term coined by a white Westerner, Paul Kirchoff, as this book makes clear.

Nevertheless, this book is the best general history of "Mexico" (itself another Euro-Iberian/American creation, twice over: 1821 and 1848).

This truly is a "pioneering synthesis" in that it takes the reader along a journey of one of the world's richest and truly original civilizations. Even more impressive when compared to the achievements of Europe: despite a 3 1/2 millenium lag time in agriculture, the peoples of Anahuac nevertheless constructed a monumental and highly sophisticated civilization, rivalling (and often dwarfing) those of Christendom at the same time.

**Compare Western Europe in the Neolithic Age to Mexico in it's own "Neolithic Age": the disparity of achievement is truly embarrassing to anyone holding onto notions of "European cultural superiority." Yikes, what a difference!
Don't take my word on it, read the Spaniards' own first-hand accounts on it!

Considering the lack of metallurgy in the land until after 800 AD, it is truly astonishing to behold the prolific construction of massive temple-pyramids and sophisticated cities across Anahuac.

Our people called the land Anáhuac (accent placed on purpose), meaning "the land between the waters" in the still-pervasive Nahuatl language. Just as there is something historically known as "Christendom" or "Western Civilization"
(oddly enough, both are based upon non-Western achievements in Sumeria and Egypt!),
even more so is there the historical justification for the term "Anahuac Civilization" (built upon the home-grown achievements of Mexico, and not outsiders as in the case of Europe/Christendom).

** This last statement is probably the most important thing that the reader will come away with from Professor Coe's book.

As the reader of both of the recent editions of "Mexico" and "The Maya" will also learn, there was a unitary and common cultural matrix which connected and sustained all the cultures of "Mexico" and "Central America" down to Costa Rica. The divisions were far more political than cultural, just as in "Christendom" or the the modern European world.

(At the time of the Spanish Invasion, Nahuatl was spoken almost everywhere, just as many modern Europeans often speak English in addition to their own languages.)

The so-called "U.S. Southwest" must necessarily be includied in this epic unfolding of civilization, as is made abundantly clear in Coe's 5th edition.

Present-day political borders and archeolgical abstractions of our presnt time get in the way of understanding this dramatic story. Post-European Invasion divisions are not the way to understand this history, just as British imperial definitions do not do justice to the understanding of the Irish people.

(One should understand an apple on an apple's terms, not an orange's!)

I have noticed an interesting trend among "Westerners" to treat the Maya as some New Age plaything along the lines of Fung Sheui and Yoga, projecting their own fanciful wishes upon the people, mutating them into a pseudo-Greek/Hellenistic carbon copy that can easily be played with like a Dream Catcher and a Buddhist wind chime.

These "Fast Food Mayanists" will be disappointed to learn that the Maya historically been "Mexicanized" by the all-pervasive influence of that central Mexican juggernaut: Teotihuacan.
Yes, the Maya did not live in a vaccuum, and their achievements were built on the achievements of the Olmec of southeastern Mexico.
Of course, the Maya deserve their place as the people who made the greatest achievements in our Anahuac Civiization.

And the reader will find that this is truly a story of a common civilization unfolding across the land (branches off the same Olmec tree), unified in religios outlook (with regional modifications just as in Europe), religious systems, architecture, diet, dysnaties, and much more.

(Keep in mind that Copan--the Classic Maya's greatest city-- was revoltionized with a 400-year Classic-period dynasty by a central Mexican from Teotihuacan: Yax Kuk Mo.
Also, no Post-Classic Maya dysnasty worth its salt would fail to claim descent from the Toltec of central Mexico.)

Truly, our people of Anahuac are in the equivalent of Europe's Dark Ages (Middle Ages) where we have lost our way, but are now emerging out of the darkness, as anyone with a cursory interest in the current "Indigenous Renaissance" will discover both in Mexico, Central America, and yes, the US Southwest.

My only gripe with the book is Coe's insistence on the "gods" school of thought, when it was clear (he states it himself) that the Aztecs possessed a monotheistic state religion with ONE GOD (yes you read that correctly): Ometeotl....and for the Maya this was called "Hunab-Ku."

Same concept.

For some reason, Westerners are readily able to accept the concept of a multi-facted God (trinity), along with deified Saints, antagonistic demons, Mary the Mother of God, and Satan...and still declare to be "Monotheists!"

The Aztec and Maya "gods" are the innumerable names and faces of one God: physical forces of the Universe, comprised of a Divine Embrace of Material and Spirit. Just as the true student of Hinduism will learn that all the Hindu gods are really manifestations of a unitary God.
If only that point had been stressed a little more in the book...

The reader would also do well to keep in mind that all this rich and impressive civilization is only recently been gleaned from what are it's "leftovers": 95% of the astronomical almanacs and encyclopedias were burned by the Spaniards, by their own admission.

What other wonders went up in those flames?!

This is a fascinating history that reads like a real-life detective story. Buy the book!

4-0 out of 5 stars Where are the Maya?
Coe has presented us with an excellent survey of the cultures and languages of Mexico.However, he has excluded the Maya from this study.I find this disturbing because, as Coe points out on p. 61, the oldest people in Mexico were those we have come to call the Olmecs. We don't know who they were, what language they spoke, or where they came from. But we have hints. Nahual (Aztec)poems speak of a lgendary land called Tamoanchan which existed before the Nahuatl speakers came to Mexica. Tamoanchan is not a Nahuatl word. It is Mayan and it means 'Land of Rain or Mist.' This indicates that the Maya were ancestral to both the Olmecs and to all pre-Columbian Mexican culture. They deserve more than a brief two paragraphs in this work.

5-0 out of 5 stars In-depth and complete
As a student interested in Mesoamerica, I found this book very well written and very in-depth.The maps and pictures are excellent and help the reader to relate to the areas that are discussed in the book. ... Read more

3. A History of the African-Olmecs: Black Civilizations of America from Prehistoric Times to the Present Era
by Paul Alfred Barton
Paperback: 260 Pages (2001-09-01)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$17.04
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0759644691
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (13)

1-0 out of 5 stars African Ethnocentrism

These books are evidence that any culture can be ethnocentric.Here we have African ethnocentrism that denies agency to the Olmec peoples of Mexico.Has it ever occurred to any of these scholars that Indians may have been the creators of their own world?

5-0 out of 5 stars ATTENTION HUMANS
It doesn't matter who was where first on what date and which stone was carried how far by what slave in the name of what king. The bottom line is this people....WE ARE ALL CHILDREN AND DECENDANTS OF MOTHER AFRIKA. So Whether Olmec is Mexican, Afrikan, Sumerian or whatever, grow up...the world's political, social, mathematical and architectural foundations can be traced back to ancient Afrikan cultures, no matter how far removed...but the sad part about it is people won't go back far enough...and if they do, they know they'll end up right back in AFRICA. Now, to say that these heads don't have Afrikan influence is nuts. To say all Mexicans and Asians don't have Afrikan features is even more nuts. It's just those darn Afrikan genes, dominant, dark and all of one speck of blood.

Something Interesting: One of the artifacts found in MesoAmerica is a small sculpture of an elephant, currently on disply at the Jalapa museum in Mexico, but was removed from display because of debates like these. Why? Because it had the same carbon dating as a few of the Olmecs found?So...elephants are native to the Americas huh? Last time i checked they were consistently native to Afrika. Only a person who made that sculpture knew about elephants...unless an alien made it for them-as well as the Mayan pyramids. So how did an elephant sculpture make it to Mexico 1400 years B.C.? Please, wake up and realize we are ALL AFRIKAN, no matter how bad it hurts...you know it to be true, so who really cares about a debate on how thick the lips are, the appearance of some epicathic eyelid folds, or how wide the nose is? Afrikan is Afrikan and Blackness is Blackness, from albino white to Goodyear tire black. Only Black can make shades of Black (Brown, Red, Yellow) and even White...not the reverse. Get over yourselves and embrace it for what it is and for where it is. It's possible for Mr. Columbus to stumble upon a new land (to him) but impossible for Afrikans to sail to Mesoamerica, or Ancient Mexican Indians to sail to Afrika? Please. Ancient Afrikans and Mexicans were trading long before there was a queen of Spain or a Columbus. If you're going to call this man and his book trash and useless, then you might as well call half the garbage that comes on National Geo or Science Channel or Discovery trash as well. Everyone's a crackpot until someone invents a time machine or interviews the creator of the universe in my opinion. Until that time comes why don't some of you naysayers write your own books and contribute information instead of slandering other's works, be it good or bad. More than anything, be careful of who you dis'...they might be your distant relatives.

5-0 out of 5 stars Skeletal Evidence for this theory
Hate to break it to you, folks. But a set of 13 individuals were found in Brazil a few years ago with definite African features. Racial determination is difficult using artwork, such as the Olmec heads, but these skeletons were determined, using multivariate analysis, to be from Africa. They date to 13,000 BC. Since preservation/discovery of skeletal remains is elusive in the jungle; over time more African individuals may be discovered in this area.

I have not read this book...just want to state that this theory should not be dismissed anymore. Also there is other data (botanical) that some plants were transfered back and forth. When I get to my office I'll post a title of a book there. I think it was called 'Africa and the Americas' or something similar.

Max Davidson
Foothill College
Dept. of Anthropology

1-0 out of 5 stars Wide noses and full lips ARE NOT only african traits
How stereotypical is it for black people to look at these olmec heads and "assume" theyre african?! get over yourselves! youre not the only people with features like those, and has it ever crossed your minds that people traveled back then and traded items? Also if the olmec were really african dont you think i would look black since im a decendant of natives from mexico? wouldnt the mayans, mexicas, mixtec, zapotec and many more natives just from that area be african? they should of if that theory was true, but they arent and you all need to accept that we natives are the true people of this land and be happy with the tribes in your continent. To belive that the olmecs were black is disrespecful to myself and my people, and its ridiculous that Mr.Barton would lead you to belive this.

1-0 out of 5 stars no evidence
No evidence provided, seems to be part of a bigger movement by winters, reinventing reality, in hindsight he is a very dangerous man ... Read more

4. Mexico: From the Olmecs to the Aztecs, Fifth Edition
by Michael D. Coe, Rex Koontz
Paperback: 248 Pages (2002-06)
list price: US$22.50 -- used & new: US$5.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 050028346X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Michael D. Coe's Mexico has long been recognized as the most readable and authoritative introduction to the region's ancient civilizations. This companion to his best-selling The Maya has now been completely revised and expanded for the fifth edition by Professor Coe and Rex Koontz. A new chapter covers the Classic period collapse and its aftermath, including the exploration of newly discovered cities. The history of the northern frontier of ancient Mexico receives a completely new treatment, with revised accounts of shaft tombs, the turquoise trade, and ancient Mexico's relation with the peoples of the Southwest United States. The artistry of the Toltec is revealed through a recently discovered shell and turquoise warrior costume, and what we know of the enigmatic relationship between Toltec Tula and Chichén Itzá is brought up to date. New interpretations of the symbolism of Teotihuacan and information on the great Mexican capital's relationship with the Maya are included, and there is additional material on Aztec village life on the eve of the Conquest. A section on touring Mexico has been added, which will make this book even more valuable as a companion on any visit to the rich archaeological wonders of Mexico. 160 illustrations and photographs, 10 in color. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

3-0 out of 5 stars Mexico - a very mysterious place
I was a little disappointed in Reading "Mexico".I was hoping to read about the ancient peoples of Mexico and what their daliy lives must have been like as well as their history, ways of life, beliefs, etc.. however this book was mainly focuses on archeological excavation sights and the articfacts and goes into great detail of the finds.This is all good and actually very informative for those interested in archeology alone.The book occasionally does touch on the Peoples themselves.Also, it is written in a very dry and sometimes dull and a high-brow manner which was also a turn-off to me.I recommend it though for the purpose of the many illustations and photos (the most interesting parts) and a must read for those interested in archeology.

4-0 out of 5 stars great book
this is a great book, lots of detailed photos. i am reading this book for a chicano studies class and its a bit hard to read at times.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Overview
I have been reading books on pre-Columbian America for over 20 years, and Michael Coe's titles have always been amongst my favorites.He has not dissappointed me this time either.This book is a great summary of what is known, to date, about pre-hispanic Meso America.Good reading, good archeology.

5-0 out of 5 stars Must have book on Mexican Archeology
This is a simple and easy to use reference to the archeological history of Mexico.Simply laid out with lots of examples.Good book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very Informative!
Manuel's review of this book is excellent - I couldn't have written it any better! However, here's my two-cents worth:

This book is a must read for anyone who lacks basic knowledge of the ancient Mexican cultures. It provides the reader with brief (and in some cases, more than brief) summaries of several of the various cultural groups that existed, covering geographic, cultural, agricultural, religious, architectural and political backgrounds. It has timelines and drawn maps to aid the reader's temporal and geographical orientation. It contains many illustrations and photographs of artifacts found, temples, statues...etc. excavated. It even includes a brief section and tips on visiting Mexico.

The only gripe I have with this book is that it provides you with a lot of information on some cultures, such as the Aztecs and Toltecs and leaves you with insufficient info on other cultures mentioned, such as the Totonacs. However, this is probably because what archeologists have unearthed of Mesoamerica is only a tiny fraction of what actually existed, i.e. the less than brief information on some of the cultural groups mentioned in this book is probably due to archeologists not having unearthed enough remnants of the existence of these cultures/not being able to fully interpret or place what they have found to date. I'm sure Coe would have provided more info if there was more in-depth info, though in the case of the Maya, there is simply too much information to be made known and hence, rather than trying to simplify everything into one chapter, a whole, separate book has been dedicated to that group.

To make up for this lack of info on some groups, Coe provides us with pictures of artifacts found, as in the section on the Olmecs, and illustrations and descriptions of their distinctive artistic/architectural style and states the likelihood of the origination of these styles and what they probably signified. I must admit that I found the more than just brief descriptions/concentrations on the artistic styles/pottery work/architectural preferences...etc. of some of the lesser-known groups a little annoying, for I am not an art/archeology student and was looking for info more on the way of life, beliefs...etc. than on their pottery and carving skills and architectural styles. Nonetheless, I am grateful that these were brought to the reader's attention rather than nothing at all mentioned.

I enjoyed this book as a kick-start to my growing interest in ancient Mexican and Andean cultures and think that it makes a good quick-reference book. At least now I have an idea/starting point of some of the ancient Mexican groups. One should read this book keeping in mind that a lot about ancient Mexico has yet to be discovered and will never be discovered (afterall, a majority of the remnants of these cultures were destroyed by conquering forces) and thus, should be thankful for whatever is divulged in this book.
... Read more

5. Olmec Art of Ancient Mexico
Hardcover: 288 Pages (1996-08)
list price: US$80.00 -- used & new: US$52.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0810963280
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com Review
This beautiful book is the catalog of an exhibition of Olmecart that opened in 1996 at the National Gallery of Art in Washington,D.C. Anyone who ever traveled through Mexico and visited itsarchaeological sites will recognize the seminal imagery of Olmecsculpture and objects. Their significance to Mexico's most ancientculture, which prospered 3,000 years ago, is examined in detail. Thereare texts by 14 specialists, and all of the photographs werecommissioned to illustrate the 120 pieces, which include monumentalsculptures and smaller figurines excavated from archaeological sites,and axes and other objects related to human sacrifice. Since nowritten documents survive, these objects and works of art provide thesole insight into the mysteries of this culture's history, cosmology,and daily life. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars A very extensive and powerful work:highly recommended
If your interested in the art styles of mesoamerica and pre-columbia, but specifically of the Olmec civilization of ancient Mexico, this is the book for you.Nothing is left out and the research is very good.It will givethe reader a broad knowledge of Olmec art, its predecessors and influences,and how it spread all across mesoamerica.I highly recommend it to anyoneinterested in ancient civilzations and their cultural expressions.Thisbook clearly demonstrates the power and intensity of Olmec art! ... Read more

6. The Ancient Kingdoms of Mexico (Penguin history)
by Nigel Davies
Paperback: 288 Pages (1991-07-26)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$46.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0140135871
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars good afternoon read
I found "The Ancient Kingdoms of Mexico" an enlightening introduction to Mesoamerica and a welcome break from the incessant focus on the Aztec and Maya to the exclusion of all others. The book is refreshingly well written, generally accessible and almost artfully cited on the middle ground between children's books ("daily life in" etc.) on the one hand and more or less scientific, serious, but rather dry books on the other. ... Read more

7. Ancient Mexico: The History and Culture of the Maya, Aztecs, and other Pre-Columbian Peoples
by Maria Longhena
 Hardcover: 292 Pages (2001)
-- used & new: US$49.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0760727910
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Nice oversize catalog of Mesoamerican art and culture, with problems: 3.7 stars
This oversize coffee-table book has beautifully reproduced, well-chosen photographs, but significant drawbacks.

* Excellent photos of iconic objects
* Good cross-section of prehispanic Mesoamerican artwork/artifacts
* Nice feature articles on many major archaeological sites in Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras

* Average-quality text (translated from Italian)

* No decent overall map of the area
* Maps of cultures are so general as to be almost useless

So, this shouldn't be your only guide to prehispanic Mesoamerican history. But the high quality of the photos makes it worthwhile if you find an inexpensive copy. Search on the title, as Amazon usually has used copies in more than one file. More copies & reviews here: Ancient Mexico: The History and Culture of the Maya, Aztects and Other Pre-Columbian Peoples

Happy reading--
Peter D. Tillman ... Read more

8. The Olmecs: America's First Civilization (Ancient Peoples and Places)
by Richard A. Diehl
Paperback: 208 Pages (2005-11-01)
list price: US$22.50 -- used & new: US$12.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0500285039
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
"The first truly complete and authoritative account of this 3,000-year-old culture."—Michael D. Coe

The Olmecs of southern Mexico are America's oldest civilization and Mesoamerica's "Mother Culture." Famous for their Colossal Heads carved from giant boulders, the Olmecs have fascinated the public and archaeologists since the 1940s when National Geographic magazine reported the initial explorations of their centers. Despite well-publicized discoveries of spectacular basalt sculptures, portable jade objects, and richly decorated pottery vessels, until recently almost nothing was known about Olmec history, foreign contacts, and daily life. Now archaeologists have recovered information that allows them to assemble a remarkably broad picture of Olmec culture, its accomplishments, and its impact on later Mexican civilizations.

The Olmecs presents the first modern overview of information from recent archaeological field projects and studies of Olmec art. In addition to detailed coverage of Olmec life, culture, and art, it examines the Olmec presence in the surrounding areas of Mexico and their role in the formation of pre-Columbian Mesoamerican civilization. Profusely illustrated, it will become the standard work on this enigmatic culture. 152 illustrations, 20 in color. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars Retired American
The book is well laid out and understandable. Does a very good job of providing direct information about the subject. Considering it is a text book it is a good read.

3-0 out of 5 stars The Olmecs and the Problem of the Chinese
Richard Diehl's book is an adequate survey of Olmec art and culture. That is, there is nothing special about it, but it's not particularly bad, either.

However, at one point, Diehl makes a comment that is worth examining a little more closely. In discussing a collection of sixteen stone figurines buried at La Venta together with a collection of jade celts, he says: "Despite the obvious reworking, one self-styled expert in ancient writing systems recently misidentified the engraved lines on the four as examples of Chinese writing, offering them as 'evidence' that the Olmecs were pre-Columbian migrants from China!" This is found on page 73 of the paperback edition.

First of all, the 'self-styled expert' that Diehl is here talking about is actually a Chinese professor, Han Ping Chen from Beijing, who is not just an expert in general writing systems, as Diehl's dismissive comment would have the reader believe, but specifically one of about a dozen or so professors in the world specializing in Shang Dynasty writing. As the article in U.S. News & World Reports dating 10/27/1996 states, Chen visited the National Gallery in Washington to see these jade celts at an Olmec art exhibition, and he claimed that he could "easily read" the writing on one of the celts as Shang Dynasty, which he translated as "Rulers and chieftains here establish a new kingdom." Chen is a respected professor, not some whacko, as Diehl would have you believe in order to discredit Chen's finding.

The fact is that American scholars of Mesoamerican art and culture have an emotional prejudice against any ideas that Mesoamerican civilization was influenced, especially at its origin point, by Chinese or Asian civilizations. They have claimed that this is an "insult to indigenous Americans." But such a claim, take note, is an emotional prejudice, not a rational objection. The world of truth does not care if the influence of the Chinese on Mesoamerican civilization is damaging to someone's ego. Ego has nothing to do with truth, except when it stands in the way.

The evidence for Chinese influence on the Olmec is not only not circumstantial, it is overwhelming. Take, for instance, the fact that the Olmec, in burying their dead, sprinkled the bodies heavily with cinnabar, a practice well known in Shang Dynasty China. Also, the Chinese pioneered jade carving, and it is rather coincidental that the carving of jade did not exist in the New World at all prior to the Olmecs. Both the Chinese and the Olmec have sky dragons that are associated with the bringing of rain, and also a jaguar cult that is similar to Chinese reverence for the tiger. Also, the Chinese generally aligned their cities on a north-south axis, just like the layout of La Venta, also aligned on a north-south axis. The Olmec custom at La Venta of laying out serpentine blocks to create a mosaic image of the face of their jaguar god is very similar to the practice pioneered by the Erlitou Culture of the Chinese of creating animal faces on bronze plaques out of turquoise mosaics. And so on. The list does not end there, by any means, and the list of Asian (including Hindu, Chinese and Japanese) influences evident in Mesoamerican culture generally goes on and on despite scholars' claims that none of this could have happened.

One of the standard objections made by such New World scholars is that the Mesoamericans did not have the wheel and did not use metal, whereas the Chinese clearly used both. Well, while the latter is true, it is not quite true to say that the Mesoamericans did not know the concept of the wheel, since wheels are found on their toys, thus indicating that they knew full well about the wheel. Also, it is known that the Maya knew about the use of metals for a very long, long time, and did not pick up metal use until the Postclassic period. But according to Linda Schele, they had long since known of metals but simply decided not to use them, most likely for cosmological and symbolic reasons. These are precisely the kinds of reasons that cause conservative societies to reject technologies which are "obviously better," for the assumption made by scholars that technologies are used when they are present and available and of obvious benefit is simply wrong. All sorts of religious and cosmological taboos routinely prevent archaic societies from picking up "superior" technologies.

So those objections are entirely artificial.

Diehl's book is readable if you are interested in the Olmec, but not if you are interested in knowing whethe the Olmecs might have been influenced by the Chinese. For that, you need a real scholar, not an academic anxious about what his peers might think of his dissenting opinions. Peer pressure is a strong motivator that distorts the thinking of academics in all kinds of ways, and that is why they cannot usually be relied upon for truth. Loners and outsiders are much better sources of truth, since they do not have to worry about what their peers will think of them or whether or not they will get tenure if they say something heretical.

--John David Ebert, author of Celluloid Heroes & Mechanical Dragons: Film as the Mythology of Electronic Society

1-0 out of 5 stars not recommended
The book is
1st: absolutely poor in the photographs and hand made drawings
2nd: all themes about controverse objects and artifacts are omitted with high accuracy
3rd: the situation he described is true for Mexico of the 1940ies, not of today (treasure hunters damage most of the areas - he should visit it today, please!and learn about mexican law concerning this subject)
4th: he is not able to discuss the problem that on olmec reliefs clearly negroid people and semitic people are portrayed-indians in this regions looks not like the the portraits of olmec heads
5th: he forgot the archaeological artifacts of Monte alban
Conclusion: If this is an high graduated professor of an university, something of the knowledge and thinking of this people most me out of time. Or, what is the reason for a professor to speak about were-Jaguars-is he consuming were-wolf-films?
PS: I know all olmec places very well and think, i know what I' m speaking about!

5-0 out of 5 stars Olmec Writing
Watch Video Here: http://www.amazon.com/review/R1990VDV3AWT5X Richard A. Diehl provides a well written and informative account of the Olmecs. It is richly illustrated and written in clear and concise language. The book is easy to read.

The book makes it clear that the Olmec civilization is diverse and widespread. It provides an abundance of information that support the view that the Olmec civilization is the "Mother Culture" of Mexico.It gives a detailed account of Olmec civilization in the heartland and the expansion of Olmec influence into Basin of Mexico,Chiapas, Oaxaca, Gurero, the highlands of Mexico and Central America.

There are a couple of problems with the book. For example,on pg 13, Dr. Diehl claims that we don't have any surviving Olmec skeletons. Granted they are not found in Olman but Dr. Wiercinski did examine Olmec skeletons from Tlatilco that indicate that in the late period of Olmec history the civilization was made up of people from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.

The book engages the reader in a discovery of an ancient time when great men and women set out to develop a new civilization and open up new lands for settlement. It is a good summary of the research concerning the Olmec up to now. It will serve as popular introduction to Olmec civilization for years to come.

This film provides a discussion of the Olmec writing system. Whereas Prof. Diehl thinks that the idea that Olmec art and culture can not be attributed to seafaring Africans, this film shows how the Olmec spoke a Mande language and that the writing of the Olmec can be read using the Vai script. It explains the decipherment of the Olmec writing and how it provides keen insight into Olmec civilization and its royals. Olmec Writing provides a detailed discussion of the Olmec writing only hinted at by Richard A. Diehl.

2-0 out of 5 stars Poorest Graphics!
The photography and graphics in this book are the poorest I have seen in a very long time in books of similar interest. This is a shame as image clarity is extremely important to understanding the culture and especially the art of the Olmec. That is the only thing that we have left of the Olmecs. ... Read more

9. Olmec Art and Archaeology in Mesoamerica (Studies in the History of Art Series)
Paperback: 344 Pages (2006-05-01)
list price: US$40.00 -- used & new: US$31.55
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 030011446X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

This handsome volume presents the creations of Mesoamerica’s most ancient societies in their archaeological contexts. The Olmec—best known for a unique style of monumental stone head and jade were-jaguar—were based along the Gulf of Mexico but have also been linked to other Mesoamerican civilizations such as the Maya and Aztec. This book discusses recent spectacular finds and provides a framework for understanding the history, art, and archaeology of the Olmec.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

3-0 out of 5 stars Olmec Art and Archaeology
Olmec Art and Archaeology in Mesoamerica (Studies in the History of Art Series) is a compilation of interesting articles with a solid archaeological base.The book's main drawback is the poor quality of the photographs, mostly fuzzy black and white images that leave the reader frustrated.It would also help if the authors provided outline drawings for eroded monuments.

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful!
A very beautiful and professional presentation. I am an archaeologist and the imaging and text made it a very enjoyable experience.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Book, Important Topics!
If you want to read great articles, look at some great photos and illustrations and learn about the current state of our understanding of the civilizations that became what we call the Olmec, then this book is for you.It is simply fascinating stuff for anyone seriously interested in understanding these people. ... Read more

10. The Maya: History and Treasures of an Ancient Civilization
by Davide Dominici
Hardcover: 208 Pages (2006-10-24)
list price: US$35.00 -- used & new: US$49.94
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Asin: 885440148X
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This lavishly illustrated volume enables readers to chronologically trace the cultural development of Mesoamerica. From the imposing monumental sculptures of the Olmecs in 1500 BC to the extraordinary development of the Mayan city states of the classical period to the militaristic fervor of the kingdom of Chichen Itza to the conquest of the Mayans by the Spanish armies in the 1500s, The Mayas examines the social and cultural influences of each major period in ancient Mayan history.An insightful exploration of the significant characteristics of each society and the factors leading to the collapse of each is balanced by an examination of the social and cultural reorganization that followed each chapter in Mayan history.Accompanying the text, full-color photographs bring to life the art, architecture, religious rituals, and recreational activities of each society, creating a well-rounded portrait of a legendary era in world history. ... Read more

11. The Art of Mesoamerica: From Olmec to Aztec (World of Art)
by Mary Ellen Miller
Paperback: 240 Pages (2001-10)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$9.65
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Asin: 0500203458
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
This essential guide to the art and architecture of ancient Mesoamerica succinctly and evocatively summarizes the artistic achievements of the high pre-Columbian civilizations—Olmec, Maya, Teotihuacan, Tolec, Aztec—as well as those of their less well-known contemporaries. The pyramids and palaces, jades and brightly colored paintings emerge from these pages as vividly as when they first astonished Cortés's men in 1519. There was a surprising unity in Mesoamerican culture from Mexico to Honduras and from 1500 BC to the Spanish Conquest. Among many features shared were a 260-day ritual calendar and a preoccupation with gods representing natural forces. Current research also emphasizes the great importance of rites of kingship, including warfare and blood sacrifice. In this third edition, Mary Miller opens up new windows on the ancient past with fresh readings of works of art, all the while offering careful archaeological interpretations. Recent hieroglyphic decipherments provide insights into ancient art, spelling out long-distance connections between the Maya and their neighbors. Updated throughout, with special attention to evidence for dating, the new Art of Mesoamerica is the ideal companion for students and travelers. 193 illustrations, 44 in color. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

1-0 out of 5 stars ready for the trashcan
This book is in terrible condition.It does not rate any star or even partial star.


And there was something sticky spilled all over the back cover which disgusted me to touch. I had to immediately wash it with alcohol hand cleaner to be able to open it.It is dog eared and has large amounts of underlining, some in pen and some in yellow marker.I don't want it in my house!I don't think I can stand having it in my hands to read it.

The invoice included with it is for another book [Torts (Law in a Flash Cards) by Emanuel, Steven L] and for another buyer, Elizabeth Zager in Holly Springs NC.I suppose the person purchasing this item now has my name and address.I don't like this.

Somebody really goofed up here and I AM NOT HAPPY.

This book in NO WAY qualifies as GENTLY USED.It is a mess.

I have been taken.I want my money back.

Celeste Turcotte

1-0 out of 5 stars Waste of time
The content of this book is so dry I'm amazed it didn't light up in my hands.Unless you already have an intimate knowledge of the subject this book does little to educate you.It presents few facts, only one "likely" scenario after another.In fact I count 46 "likely" scenarios in the first three chapters alone.I am "likely" to burn this book after the class that requires it is over.If you are taking a class that requires this book, drop it. Unless you are a pretentious art history major that would love to debate the finer points of the late formative style of Maya artistry, stay away from this book.

4-0 out of 5 stars Successfull challenge
This book has deeply increased my motivation for learning more of the complex precolombian culture, and to visit again the Museo Nacional Antropologica, Mexico. I would recommend to read first David Carrasco " Religions of Mesoamerica ".

5-0 out of 5 stars This is very Interesting
Excelent book, great author and great information.
Olmecs,Maya and Aztecs are studing by Mary Eller.

4-0 out of 5 stars Worthwhile but dense
A solid, useful one-volume survey of Mesoamerican art.Miller is a notedexpert in the field, and she does a commendable job of presenting a largeamount of information in a short space without resorting to superficiality. The text is clear and the photographs are both copious and well-chosen,with numerous color plates adding to the enjoyment.

Almost of necessity,however, the writing style tends to be fairly dense.Those looking for areadable "History of Mesoamerica" should probably go elsewhere. Nonetheless, most readers will find this book rewarding -- after which theywill want to turn to more specific and detailed volumes by Linda Schele andMichael Coe, among others. ... Read more

12. Pre-Columbian trans-Oceanic Contact: Norse Colonization of the Americas, Pre-Columbian Andalusian-Americas Contact Theories, Pre-Columbian Africa-Americas ... Head, Olmec Alternative Origin Speculations
Paperback: 104 Pages (2009-07-28)
list price: US$55.00
Isbn: 6130028830
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Pre-Columbian Trans-oceanic contact. Norse Colonization of the Americas, Pre-Columbian Andalusian-Americas Contact Theories, Pre-Columbian Africa-Americas Contact Theories, Tecaxic-Calixtlahuaca Head, Olmec Alternative Origin Speculations, Indigenous Peoples of the Americas, Bat Creek Inscription, Olmec ... Read more

13. Olmec: San Lorenzo Tenochtitlán, La Venta, Olmec Influences on Mesoamerican Cultures, Olmec Religion, Olmec Alternative Origin Speculations, Pre-Columbian Africa-Americas Contact Theories
Paperback: 72 Pages (2009-07-31)
list price: US$41.00
Isbn: 6130029608
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Olmec. San Lorenzo Tenochtitlán, La Venta, Olmec Influences on Mesoamerican Cultures, Olmec Religion, Olmec Alternative Origin Speculations, Pre-Columbian Africa-Americas Contact Theories ... Read more

14. The Madrid Codex: New Approaches to Understanding an Ancient Maya Manuscript (Mesoamerican Worlds: From the Olmecs to the Danzantes)
Paperback: 426 Pages (2009-03-31)
list price: US$34.95 -- used & new: US$31.45
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0870819399
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This volume offers new calendrical models and methodologies for reading, dating, and interpreting the general significance of the Madrid Codex. The longest of the surviving Maya codices, the "Madrid Codex" includes texts and images painted by scribes conversant in Maya hieroglyphic writing, a written means of communication practiced by Maya elites from the second to the fifteenth centuries A.D. Some scholars have recently argued that the Madrid Codex originated in the Peten region of Guatemala and post-dates European contact. The contributors to this volume challenge that view by demonstrating convincingly that it originated in northern Yucatan and was painted in the Pre-Columbian era. In addition, several contributors reveal provocative connections among the Madrid and Borgia group of codices from Central Mexico. ... Read more

15. The Olmec: Mother Culture of Mesoamerica
by Roman Pina Chan
 Hardcover: 240 Pages (1989-07-15)
list price: US$75.00 -- used & new: US$49.99
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Asin: 0847810445
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16. Ancient Chalcatzingo (Texas Pan American Series)
 Hardcover: 579 Pages (1987-05)
list price: US$75.00 -- used & new: US$35.00
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Asin: 0292703724
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17. 16 Olmec Culture: An entry from UXL's <i>Early Civilizations in the Americas Reference Library</i>
 Digital: 23 Pages (2005)
list price: US$8.90 -- used & new: US$8.90
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Asin: B001QW3KI0
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This digital document is an article from Early Civilizations in the Americas Reference Library, brought to you by Gale®, a part of Cengage Learning, a world leader in e-research and educational publishing for libraries, schools and businesses.The length of the article is 5479 words.The article is delivered in HTML format and is available in your Amazon.com Digital Locker immediately after purchase.You can view it with any web browser.Covers the range of topics related to addiction, articles cover everything from binge drinking to the role of genetics in addictive behaviors. Also included are additional articles on media representation, drug use in schools, herbal supplements, and more. ... Read more

18. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Aztec & Maya: The Definitive Chronicle Of The Ancient Peoples Of Mexico & Central America - Including The Aztec, Maya, Olmec, Mixtec, Toltec & Zapotec
by Charles Phillips
Hardcover: 512 Pages (2007-05-07)
list price: US$29.99 -- used & new: US$62.54
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0754817296
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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This definitive reference offers enthralling insights into the art and architecture, myths and legends, and everyday life of the people of Mexico and Central America. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

3-0 out of 5 stars Great collection of imagery; text is a little wanting in coherence and rigor
I bought this book because I am interested in the Maya.The scope of the imagery is stunning.Every spread contains between one and three beautiful, full-color photographs of countless sites and artifacts, as well as maps and illustrations (such as Cortes's sketch of Tenochtitlan).The text is well researched, and the style is engaging throughout.

There are a few issues, however, with the text.The first is that there are no references.In my mind, this is a very serious shortcoming--the reason this book is 2 stars short of perfect.In my view, encyclopedias are starting points for more in-depth research.It is difficult to delve further into specific topics without any familiarity with the literature on Mesoamerican history and archeology, and so I need to be pointed in the right direction.Consider too that even elementary school students have to cite references in their reports.It therefore comes across as odd that at the level of professional publishing, academic rigor is not important.(What message will this send to elementary school students who read this?Citing isn't important past the fifth grade?)

Another issue concerns the maps.First, there is no main map and no map index.There is a large map near the beginning, but it does not include all of the major cities.Several spreads have maps in them, but curiously, they do not include every location that is discussed on that spread!One would assume that when such-and-such a city is used as a geographic reference point, then the map that appears *on the same page* would include said city.Not the case here.This gives the impression of a lack of coherence.

The overall scope of this book is impressive, and the imagery captures the imagination.However, one wonders whether it would have killed the author to accompany each section with a brief "Further Reading" paragraph of references.Also, the maps are not the most useful.

5-0 out of 5 stars Get this book!
Wonderful book on the history of the Aztecs & Mayas as well as the Olmecs and others in Meso America.It also has many beautiful color photographs of cultural artifacs and art.As a former history teacher and cultural admirer I would recommend this book as both a gift or for your own enjoyment. ... Read more

19. Cities of Ancient America: An entry from Gale's <i>Science and Its Times</i>
by Judson Knight
 Digital: 5 Pages (2001)
list price: US$5.90 -- used & new: US$5.90
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0027UWK5E
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Product Description
This digital document is an article from Science and Its Times, brought to you by Gale®, a part of Cengage Learning, a world leader in e-research and educational publishing for libraries, schools and businesses.The length of the article is 1852 words.The article is delivered in HTML format and is available in your Amazon.com Digital Locker immediately after purchase.You can view it with any web browser.The histories of science, technology, and mathematics merge with the study of humanities and social science in this interdisciplinary reference work. Essays on people, theories, discoveries, and concepts are combined with overviews, bibliographies of primary documents, and chronological elements to offer students a fascinating way to understand the impact of science on the course of human history and how science affects everyday life. Entries represent people and developments throughout the world, from about 2000 B.C. through the end of the twentieth century. ... Read more

20. Representation Of Deities Of The Maya Manuscripts - Dr.Paul Schellhas
by Dr.Paul Schellhas
Kindle Edition: Pages (2010-02-13)
list price: US$2.99
Asin: B0038HEXPK
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The three manuscripts which we possess of the ancient Maya peoples of Central America, the Dresden (Dr.), the Madrid (Tro.-Cort.) and the Paris (Per.) manuscripts, all contain a series of pictorial representations of human figures, which, beyond question, should be regarded as figures of gods. Together with these are a number of animal figures, some with human bodies, dress and armor, which likewise have a mythologic significance.

The contents of the three manuscripts, which undoubtedly pertain to the calendar system and to the computation of time in their relation to the Maya pantheon and to certain religious and domestic functions, admit of the conclusion, that these figures of gods embody the essential part of the religious conceptions of the Maya peoples in a tolerably complete form. For here we have the entire ritual year, the whole chronology with its mythological relations and all accessories. In addition to this, essentially the same figures recur in all three manuscripts. Their number is not especially large. There are about fifteen figures of gods in human form and about half as many in animal form. At first we were inclined to believe that further researches would considerably increase the number of deities, but this assumption was incorrect. After years of study of the subject and repeated examination of the results of research, it may be regarded as positively proved, that the number of deities represented in the Maya manuscripts does not exceed substantially the limits mentioned above. The principal deities are determined beyond question.

The way in which this was accomplished is strikingly simple. It amounts essentially to that which in ordinary life we call "memory of persons" and follows almost naturally from a careful study of the manuscripts. For, by frequently looking attentively at the representations, one learns by degrees to recognize promptly similar and familiar figures of gods, by the characteristic impression they make as a whole, or by certain details, even when the pictures are partly obliterated or exhibit variations, and the same is true of the accompanying hieroglyphs. A purely inductive, natural science-method has thus been followed, and hence this pamphlet is devoted simply to descriptions and to the amassing of material. These figures have been taken separately out of the manuscripts alone, identified and described with the studious avoidance of all unreliable, misleading accounts and of all presumptive analogies with supposedly allied mythologies.

Download Representation Of Deities Of The Maya Manuscripts Now! ... Read more

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