Smithsonian Olmec Legacy

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Matthew Stirling and Tres Zapotes Monument G. Tres Zapotes, 1939. stirling_19. Photograph by Richard H. Stewart, National Anthropological Archives

Introduction

Matthew Stirling led a small group of individuals on eight archaeological expeditions to the Olmec heartland between 1939 and 1946. The research was jointly sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution and the National Geographic Society, and attracted the attention of anthropologists, artists and ornithologists, who assisted in interpreting and publicizing their discoveries. Some members of the early expeditions returned to continue field work in the 1950s, and would later be joined by other archaeologists and students.

The biographical sketches in this section highlight Olmec research of some of the scholars, who contributed to the Smithsonian Olmec Legacy, and also take note of their other interests and accomplishments.

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