The Olmec heads are stone sculptures belonging to the Olmec civilisation that existed on the Gulf coast of Mexico between 1200 and 400 BC. As their original places are unknown due to frequent vandalism, their exact purpose is also still open to debate. However, most archaeologists agree upon the theory that they represent the Olmec rulers due to the effort put in sculpting the stone and the heads’ uniqueness.
Seventeen heads have been discovered so far, ten of which are from San Lorenzo and four from La Venta (two important Olmec centres). It is interesting that most of them were buried sometime before 900 BC. Some suggest that their burial might have been an ancestor worship in which the burying practice must have taken place shortly after the sculpting process.
The heads are mostly about 3 m high, 4.5 metres in circumference, and around 8 tons in weight. As for the uniqueness, each face has a distinct expression. It is because only the head contains the emotions, the soul, and experience according to the Mesoamerican belief. Each head also wears helmet worn by the Olmec during battles or the Mesoamerican ballgame (a ceremonial team sport played in the region for centuries).