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date: 20 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Hydrographic features dominate the Olmec heartland. Fishing, travel, transport, and trade via watercraft were essential parts of daily life. This chapter synthesizes archaeofaunal, iconographic, and biological data about human–animal relationships during the Formative period in the Gulf Coastal lowlands of Veracruz, Mexico. Aquatic environments were reliable sources of physical sustenance for the Olmec and Epi-Olmec, and fresh-water fish, turtles, and local and migratory water birds made up the daily diet. Animals found in marine environments were elevated to a sacred status and venerated in iconography, and jade and ceramic effigies and pendants became important parts of spiritual sustenance.

Keywords: formative, Olmec, Epi-Olmec, aquatic, archaeofaunal, human–animal relationships

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