The Long Count calendar used by many subsequent Mesoamerican civilizations, as well as the concept of zero, may have been devised by the Olmecs. Because the six artifacts with the earliest Long Count calendar dates were all discovered outside the immediate Maya homeland, it is likely that this calendar predated the Maya and was possibly the invention of the Olmecs. Indeed, three of these six artifacts were found within the Olmec heartland. But an argument against an Olmec origin is the fact that the Olmec civilization had ended by the 4th century BCE, several centuries before the earliest known Long Count date artifact. The Long Count calendar required the use of zero as a placeholder within its vigesimal (base-20) positional numeral system. A shell glyph was used as a zero symbol for these Long Count dates, the second oldest of which, on Stela C. at Tres Zapotes, has a date of 32 BCE. This is one of the earliest uses of the zero concept in history. The Olmecs were said to have brought the foundation of language to Mesoamerica in the form of Mixe–Zoquean language. In 1976, linguists Lyle Campbell and Terrence Kaufman published a paper in which they argued a core number of loan words had apparently spread from a Mixe– Zoquean language into many other Mesoamerican languages. Campbell and Kaufman proposed that the presence of these core loan words indicated that the Olmec – generally regarded as the first "highly civilized”. Mesoamerican society – spoke a language ancestral to Mixe– Zoquean. The spread of this vocabulary was to their culture accompanied the diffusion of other Olmec cultural and artistic traits that appears in the archaeological record of other Mesoamerican societies. It is clear to this writer that the Olmec civilization brought rise to the Mesoamerican civilization, and were the first to inhabit the shores of the western world. The Olmec lived in and around the Mexican Peninsula. The Olmec were called the rubber people and were the first to make and use rubber.
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