Research conducted around 2008 showed evidence of the Olmec people creating an ancient form of asphalt. By mixing together this naturally occurring materials with various plant fibres and exposing it to heat, they developed a very useful waterproof coating for boats and another source of high-value material to trade with other people in the region.
An interesting debate about Olmec pottery arose when scientists used more precise mineral examination to identify where the clay came from four pieces found throughout Mesoamerica. Pottery is frequently one of the most studied artefacts because it is obviously made by human hands. Although a carved stone also has human beginnings, of course, the actual stone itself cannot be specifically identified internally. Clay, on the other hand, is intrinsically chosen and shaped by the person who makes it.
One type of analysis indicates that most of the clay pottery in the entire region came from the Olmec lands. Another type that focused on the geology of the sand and rock particles added to temper the pieces indicated that it came from various places and ended up in the main city. While these in-depth studies may indicate different types of trade and cultural spread, the truth remains shrouded in mystery.