The artifact database is a compilation of Olmec and Olmec-related material in the Department of Anthropology's collection in the National Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian Institution. Some records describe individual artifacts, while others record groups of objects. In the case of a catalogue entry describing a large number of pot sherds, for example, the photograph will usually depict only a representative sample.
It should also be noted that some artifacts, although collected by Matthew Stirling at or near Olmec sites, do not in fact appear to be Olmec in style. The material collected by Smithsonian geologist, William Foshag, contains artifacts that may or may not be considered Olmec. Finally, objects with obvious Olmec characteristics have been included in the database despite the fact that they came into the Smithsonian's collection during the past century and a half with no known provenience.
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