added by archaeologs A geographical and cultural area from central Honduras and northwest Costa Rica north through Mexico and including Tamaulipas and Sinaloa - roughly between central Mexico and Costa Rica - the location of several notable pre-Columbian civilizations. It is the area in Central America in which various Classic and Postclassic civilizations developed, including the Olmec, Teotihuacán, Aztec, and Maya. The culture area was originally defined on the basis of shared traits such as the developments of agriculture, urbanization, and elaborate ceremonial practice. An immense environmental diversity is enclosed within the area. In recent years the term has been applied to the geographic area alone, without being limited by the defining traits named above. The culture began with village life more than 4000 years ago.