Giant Olmec Heads

The Olmec were a group of people who made up the first civilization in Mexico some 3,500 years ago. They laid the foundations for the other civilizations to follow and are known for their striking stone art, mainly colossal heads.

These heads were carved from single basalt boulders and often transported over 100 miles until reaching their final destinations. Each head weighs about 8 tons (16,000 pounds). So far, seventeen heads have been found. And each of these heads are unique, which points to the possibility that they were modeled after Olmec rulers. It is believed that the heads were at one time painted with bright colors. (The Simpsons even have one in their basement!)

The Olmec weren't the only ones to create giant heads. Off the coast of Chile, many heads can be found across Easter Island.  Each of these heads weigh approximately 50 tons (That's over 100,000 pounds!).  At one time, the island had over 700 of these heads strategically placed throughout the island.

Questions to Consider:

1. How do you think early humans moved these giant sculptures?  Remember: they didn't have wheels!
2. Why did human beings create these sculptures? What purposes might they have served?