Chavins

The chavins were a cult; a religious group that appeared in the Central Andes in about 1000 B.C.E. From then on, they spread through Peru, up until they dissappeared around 300 B.C.E. The scholars named them "Chavins" after Chavin de Huantar, a modern town in that location. Some theories believe that the cult appeared when maize became the main crop in South America. Andean Society became more complex during the era of the Chavin Cult. The Chavins were the ones who inspired the building of ceremonial centers. After they vanished, cities developed in the area.
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Olmecs
The Olmecs were one of the first American Civilizations. They began around 1200 B.C.E., and they spread from Central America to until around 400 B.C.E., where they disappeared without a treace. They didn't have any writing skills. They also happened to make religious monuments in the shape of pyramids, similar to Chichen Itza. Some of the achievements they are known for were discovering stones, including jade, and blending human images and animal images to make religious symbols. They produced some of the first calendars, and they later influenced Central American cultures, such as the Mayans and Incas who took their alphabet from the Olmecs. Succesors created the heiroglyphic alphabet andd built the city, Teotihuacan, which was made for trade and worship. They were based on agriculture, and suffered from the religious wars. They generally grew maize, and made great stone heads *Image below*. La Venta was a prominent center for their culture, and a big city. Trade was key with the Olmecs.


Stearns, Peter N., Stuart B. Schwartz, Michael Adas, and Marc J. Gilbert. "World Civilizations The Global Experience." Web. 20 Jan. 2012.

The Olmecs carved stone, jade, and the volcanic rock basalt (used for the great stone heads). The stone was quarried and imported.
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Henry, Bryan. "The Ancient Olmec Civilization." Aztec History. Web. 20 Jan. 2012. <http://www.aztec-history.com/olmec-civilization.html>.