The Olmec were an ancient pre-Columbian people living in the tropical lowlands of south-central Mexico, roughly in what are the modern-day states of Veracruz and Tabasco on the Isthmus of
Tehuantepec. Their immediate cultural influence went much further though, Olmec artwork being found as far afield as El Salvador. The Olmec predominated in their lands from about 1200 BC to about 400
BC and they are, in fact, claimed by many to be the progenitors and mother culture of every primary element common to later Mesoamerican civilizations.