Studies on olmecan ceramics, the mother culture of Mesoamerica? Was the title of the conference that Héctor Neff dictated at the
Popol Vuh Museum of Universidad Francisco Marroquín, last January 11th, 2007.
A strong controversy surrounds the role played by olmecans in the origin of Mesoamerican civilization. Were they the source of inspiration for the development of other civilizations in Mesoamerica, or was it only a complex society developed during the early pre-classic period?
Recently, Héctor Neff and his collaborators analyzed the chemical composition of olmecan ceramics, found in other regions, and have concluded that they were exported from the olmecan site of San Lorenzo. However, they have not found in San Lorenzo concerned objects of other regions. Its implications of the dominant role of the Olmecans from San Lorenzo, in relation to their contemporaries, has provoked a heated discussion involving many outstanding specialists.
this conference, Neff offered first hand information on these findings and their implications for our knowledge of the origin of the Mesoamerican civilization.
Héctor Neff is professor at the University of California, Long Beach, and author of numerous works dedicated to the chemical analysis of Mesoamerican archaeological materials. He has made extensive and diligent investigations in the South coast of Guatemala, centered in the production and distribution of ceramics, and in the environmental impact of pre Hispanic societies.