I've spent most of the weekend working on my Olmec research paper. It was realy difficult to come up with a good thesis; finally, I proposed that the Olmec heads were carved at the beginning of a king's reign from the throne of his predecessor. It's a plausible theory, if highly speculative. Certainly, the archaelogical record can't prove it, but archeologists do know that some of the heads were carved from repurposed thrones, and that the colossal heads were most likely the portraits of important men, rather than gods. The second part of my thesis was that the portrait of the king was buried after his death. Again, this can't be proven, but we do know that the portrait heads were intentionally buried - we just don't know when or by whom. Obviously, I would have to do a lot more research if I wanted to submit this as a professional paper, but for an Art History 101 class this seemed adequate.
Honestly, I thought about skipping the whole 'original idea' and just scraping by with descriptions of the art. It's not what we were supposed to do for the assignment, but I know that a lot of my classmates did it that way because our teacher's a lenient grader. But I couldn't. I may not be able to complete my homework in a timely manner, but I do have some integrity, and I want to try my hardest to actually learn something during the process of working on these assignments.
One major paper down, one more to go. Now, it's time to concentrate all my energy on the origin of farming.