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Olmec Hieroglyphic Writing

By C.A. Winters, Ph.D

Copyright 2012 Clyde Winters

Table of Contents
Introduction..5 Chapter 117 Chapter 2: Olmec Language27 Chapter 3: Olmec and Mayan Languages35 Chapter 4: Olmec Phonology.62 Chapter 5: Olmec Nouns70 Chapter 6: Olmec Adjectives..75 Chapter 7:Olmec Adverbs.78 Chapter 8:Olmec Articles..81 Chapter 9: Olmec Sentences..82 Chpter 10: Olmec Writing..84 Chapter 11: Syllabic Writing.99 Chapter 12: Hieroglyphic Writing.108 References131

Introduction Dr. Andrzej Wiercinski of Warsaw University is the most influential scientist in the study of the most ancient civilization of Mexico: the Olmecs .Dr. Wiercinski found African skeletons at the Olmec sites of Monte Alban and Tlatilco. Morley, Brainerd and Sharer (1989) said that Monte Alban was a colonial Olmec center (p.12). Diehl and Coe (1996) admitted that the inspiration of Olmec Horizon A, common to San Lorenzo's iniitial phase has been found at Tlatilco. Moreover, the pottery from this site is engraved with Olmec signs. The Olmec civilization was developed along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico in the states of Tabasco and Veracruz (Pouligny 1988:34).The Pacific area was early colonized by Olmec people in middle Preclassic times (Morley, Brainerd & Sharer 1984). The Olmec civilization was unique. It originated full bloom at some forty sites by 1200 B.C. (Coe, 1989; Tate, 1995). Coe (1989) noted that: "On the contrary, the evidence, although negative, is that the Olmec style of art, and Olmec engineering ability suddenly appeared fullfledged from about 1200 B.C. (p. 82). This archaeological evidence also led Tate (1995) to note that "Olmec culture as far as we know seems to have had no antcedents, no

material models remain for its monumental constructions and sculptures and the ritual acts captured in small objects" (p.65). The Maya were not the first to occupy the Yucatan and Gulf regions of Mexico. It is evident from Maya traditions and the artifacts recovered from many ancient Mexican sites that a different race lived in Mayaland before the Mayan speakers settled this region. The linguistic evidence suggest that around 1200 B.C., a new linguistic group arrived in the Gulf region of Mexico.M. Swadesh (1953) has presented evidence that at least 3200 years ago a non- Maya speaking group wedged itself between the Huastecs and the Maya. Soustelle (1984: 29) tells us that "We cannot help but think that the people that shattered the unity of the Proto-Mayas was also the people that brought Olmec civilization to the region". Weiner (1922) believe that some of these foreign people may have come from West Africa. Dr. Wiercinski (1972) claims that some of the Olmecs were of African origin. Dr. Wiercinski supports this claim with skeletal evidence from several Olmec sites where he found skeletons that were analogous to the West African type . Wiercinski discovered that 13.5 percent of the skeletons from Tlatilco and 4.5 percent of the skeletons from Cerro de las Mesas were Africoid (Wiercinski & Jairazbhoy 1975).

Traditions mentioned by Bernardino Sahagun, a famous authority on the Indian people of Mexico, records the settlement of Mexico by a different race from the present Amerindian population. Sahagun says that these "Eastern settlers of Mexico landed at Panotha, on the Mexican Gulf. Here they remained for a time until they moved south in search of mountains. Other migration to Mexico stories are mention in the Popol Vuh, the ancient religious and historical text compiled by the Quiche Mayan Indians. Friar Diego de Landa (1978:8,28) , in Yucatan Before and After the Conquest, wrote that "some old men of Yucatan say that they have heard from their ancestors that this country was peopled by a certain race who came from the East, whom God delivered by opening for them twelve roads through the sea". This tradition probably refers to the twelve migrations of the Olmec people. This view is supported by the stone reliefs from Izapa, Chiapas , Mexico published by the New World Foundation. In Stela 5, from Izapa we see a group of men on a boat riding the waves (Wuthenau 1980; Smith 1984 ; Norman 1976).

It is clear that Stela No.5, from Izapa not only indicates the tree of life, it also confirms the tradition recorded by Friar Diego de Landa that the Olmec people made twelve migrations to the New World. This stela also confirms the tradition recorded by the famous Mayan historian Ixtlixochitl, that the Olmec came to Mexico in "ships of barks " and landed at Pontochan, which they commenced to populate (Winters 1984: 16). These Blacks are frequently depicted in the Mayan books/writings carrying trade goods. Izapa Stela Number 5

On Stela No.5 we see a boat surrounded by waves. In the center of the boat on Stela No.5, we find a large tree. This tree has seven branches

and twelve roots. The seven branches probably represent the seven major clans of the Olmec people. The twelve roots of the tree extending into the water from the boat probably signifies the "twelve roads through the sea", mentioned by Friar Diego Landa. The Amerindian migration traditions and Stela No.5, probably relates to a segment of the Olmec, who landed in boats in Panotha or Pantla (the Huasteca) and moved along the coast as far as Guatemala. This would correspond to the non-Maya speaking group detected by Swadesh that separated the Maya and Huasteca speakers 2000 years ago. Bernardino de Sahagun (1946) a famous authority on Mexico also supports the extra-American origin of the ancient Mexicans when he wrote that "Eastern settlers of Mexico landed at Panotla on the Mexican Gulf. Here they remained for a time until they moved south in search of mountains".The reported route of the Panotha settlers recorded by Sahagun interestingly corresponds to the spread of the Olmecs in MesoAmerica. The Olmec civilization extended from the Gulf of Mexico to Chalcatzingo, in the Mexican highlands along the Pacific coast (Morley, Brainerd & Sharer 1983, p.52). This Amerindian historical and linguistic evidence indicates that a new linguistic group entered the Olmec heartland around the time we find the Olmec culutre in Mexico (Soustelle, 1984). Winters (1979,1997)

claims that this new linguistic group was a group of Manding people that migrated from West Africa to Mexico. Justeson and Kaufman (1993) and Marcus (1989) manitain that the Olmec people spoke a Otomanguean language. The Otomanguean family include Zapotec, Mixtec and Otomi to name a few. The hypothesis that the Olmec spoke an Otomanguean language is not supported by the contemporary spatial distribution of the languages spoken in the Tabasco/Veracruz area. Thomas Lee (1989, 223) noted that "...closely Mixe, Zoque and Popoluca languages are spoken in numerous villages in a mixed manner having little or no apparent semblance of linguistic or spatial unity. The general assumption made by the few investigators who have considered the situation, is that the modern linguistic pattern is a result of the disruption of an Old homogeneous language group by more powerful neighbors or invaders...." If this linguistic evidence is correct, many of the languages in the Otomanguean family are spoken by people who may have only recently settled in the Olmec heartland, and may not reflect the people that invented the culture we call Olmecs today. The Olmecs probably spoke a Manding language (Winters, 1979, 1997). This view is supported by the Manding substratum in the Otomi
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(Winters, 1979), and Mayan languages (Wiener, 1920-22; Winters, 1979). When the Mande/Olmec arrived in Mexico the local people continued to practice their culture. The Olmec people did not attempt to conquer the local people they built their sites in protected areas. As time went on the local people would have become engaged in trade with the Mande and over time adopt many elements of their culture. This would explain the Mayan adoption of the Mande term for writing. African related artifacts have been discovered at archaeological sites; this artifactual evidence include Mande inscriptions and red-andblack pottery. African writing on Olmec artifacts is the most obvious African artifact found by arcaheologist. Drucker in 1955 found two inscribed celts at LaVenta in offering #4. These celts were written in African writing, found in a controlled excavation talk about Pe, a leading sprititual leader that was buried at LaVenta Offering #4 (Winters, 1979). The red-and-black ware used by the Proto-Mande in the Saharan Highlands was also used by the Olmec. Examples of this pottery style include the so-called Blackware red pigmnet of Las Bocas and Tlatilco. Many of these vessels are inscribed with Olmec writing.

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The Olmec spoke a variety of the Mande language closely related to the Malinke-Bambara group, which is still spoken in West Africa today. Many scholars refuse to admit that Africans early settled America. The major evidence of the African origin of the Olmecs come from their writing. The writing system used by the Olmec and later adopted by the Maya, was first used by Mande speaking people in North Africa and is called Libyco-Berber ( eventhough it can not be read in a Berber language). The first scholar to recognize the african origin of the Olmec writing was Leo Wiener, in Africa and the Discovery of America. The Proto- Olmec or Manding people formerly lived in North Africa in the Saharan Highlands : and Fezzan.(. Winters, 1986) . Here the ancestors of the Olmecs left their oldest inscription written in the Manding script (which some people call Libyco-Berber, eventhough they can not be reading Berber) : was found at Oued Mertoutek and dated by Wulsin in , Papers of the peabody Museum of American Arcaheology and Ethnology (Vol.19(1), 1940), to 3000 B.C. This indicates that the Manding hand writing 2000 years before they settled the Gulf of Mexico. Dr. Wiener, highlighted the fact that the writing on the Tuxtla statuette was identical to writing used by the Mande speaking people. Using the evidence of cognate scripts and language I was able to decipher the Olmec writing in 1979.

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The Olmec left this writing on inscribed celts recovered during archaeological excavation at such sites as LaVenta, by Drucker for example. The Olmec also used the black-and-red ware which all archaeologist agree originated in Saharan Africa. This provides artifactual evidence for African-Olmecs.

The Olmecs probably founded writing in the Mexico. Dr. Coe, in "Olmec Jaguar and Olmec Kings" (1968), suggested that the beliefs of the Maya were of Olmec origin and that the pre Maya were Olmecs (1968,p.103). This agreed with Brainerd and Sharer's, The ancient Maya (1983,p.65) concept of colonial Olmec at Maya sites. Moreover, this view is supported by the appearance of jaguar stucco mask pyramids (probably built by the Olmecs) under Mayan pyramids e.g., Cerros Structure 5-C-2nd, Uxaxacatun pyramid and structure 5D-22 at Tikal. This would conform to Schele and Freidel's belief that the monumental structures of the Maya were derived from Olmec prototypes. Terrence Kaufman has proposed that the Olmec spoke a Mexe-Zoquean speech. My research as discussed in the articles mentioned above indicate that the Olmec people spoke a variation of the Malinke-Bambara language and not a Zoquean language. An Olmec origin for many pre-Classic Maya, would explain the coverup of the jaguar stucco mask pyramids with classic Maya pyramids at

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these sites. It would also explain Schele and Freidel's (1990,p.56) claim that the first king of Palenque was the Olmec leader U-Kix-chan; and that the ancient Maya adopted many Olmec social institutions and olmec symbolic imagery. Landa in makes it clear that the Yucatec Maya claimed that they got writing from a group of foreigners called Tutul Xiu (Tozzer,1941). The term Tutul Xiu, can be translated in Manding as Tutu-l ,"Very good Subjects of the Order", Xi-u, "The Shi" , or The Shis (who) are very good supporters of the cult-order". In this passage the -l, is a suffix of augmentation and the -u, is the plural element. The Shi, is probably related to the Manding term "Si", which was also an ethnonym. The fact that the Yucatec term for writing is "c'i:b'" and the Olmec/ Malinke-Bambara term for writing "se'be'", are analogous in sound support a Manding origin for the Mayan term for writing. Moreover this confirms the earlier findings by Wiener of a Malinke-Bambara substratum in the culture and religious terms of the Maya and Aztec people. In addition to the Mande speaking Olmec or Xi people influcing the Mayan languages they also influenced the Otomi language of Mexico. The Otomi language also shows affinity to the Mande languages. Otomi Mande to that to

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min grab mina ka, ki cut te'ge' ku brother koro nee mouth ne sine 'lip' sine 'sucking part of the mouth' ne language ne sui night su t?i son/daughter ti da eye do ta/ye man tye/ kye The Otomi and Mande languages also demonstrate similar grammatical features: Otomi ho' ka' ra' 'ngu "he makes the houses" Mande a kee nu ' he makes the family habitation. The Otomi use /bi/ to form the complete action. This agrees with the Mande verb to be: bi. For example: Otomi bi du 'he died', bi zo-gi ' he left it' Mande a bi sa ' he is dead'. In Otomi find da' , to form the incompleted action, e.g., ci 'eat' daci 'he will eat'. This agrees with the Mande affix da/la used to form the factitive or transitive value e.g., la bo 'to take this place' This indicates agreement between the Mande and Otomi languages. In conclusion the affinity between Olmec and African skeletons, artifactual evidence from Olmec sites, of Olmec/Manding and Mayan signs support the view that the Mande speaking Olmecs gave the Maya

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writing. These Olmecs as discussed in earlier postings came from Saharan/ North Africa before 1000 B.C. This would explain the agreement beween Mayan *c'ihb' and Olmec/Manding *se'be'. This along with the obvious total affinity of the Olmec symbols and the symbols used by the Manding people at Oued Mertoutek in 3000 B.C., and later around the Nigerbend which Wiener used to compare with the Tuxtla symbols, all support the fact that the Olmec were Manding speaking Meso-Americans. The fact that the Olmecs were predominately African in no way demeans the abilities of native Americans. In fact, the Olmecs left behind a rich culture/ civilizations that has made the later civilizations of the Zapotecs and Maya some of the greatest civilizations in World History.

Chapter 1: Origin of the Olmecs Diehl and Coe (1995, 12) of Harvard University have made it clear that until a skeleton of an African is found on an Olmec site he will not accept the art evidence that there were Africans among the Olmecs. This is rather surprising because Constance Irwin and Dr. Wiercinski (1972) have both reported that skeletal remains of Africans have been found in Mexico. Constance Irwin, in Fair Gods and Stone Faces, says

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that anthropologist see "distinct signs of Negroid ancestry in many a New World skull...." The Olmec were a cosmopolitan people of African origin. As a result we find many other nationalities living in the Olmec cities in addition to Africans, from many parts of the Old World. Alexander von Wuthenau has recorded the iconographic evidence for the European and Chinese people that traded with the Olmec people. But the evidence of African skeletons found at many Olmec sites, and their trading partners from the Old World found by Dr. Andrzej Wiercinski prove the cosmopolitan nature of Olmec society. Many African skeletons have been found in Mexico. Carlo Marquez (1956, pp.179-180) claimed that these skeletons indicated marked pronathousness and prominent cheek bones.

The greatest anthropologist to study the ethnic origins of the Olmec people is Andrzej Wiercinski of Warsaw University. Professor Wiercinski, Head of the Department of Historical Anthropology, and Fellow of the New York City and Polish Chapter of the Explorers Club, is the first, and last anthropologists to conduct a biological study of Olmec people, the founders of civilization in Mexico. Dr. Wiercinskis (1972)work on the ancient Olmec is the most quoted scientific paper on the ancient Olmec quoted by numerous researchers

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working on the origins of the Olmec people of Mexico (Griffith, 1993; Rensberger,1988;van Sertima, 1976; Wiercinski, 1972; Wiercinski & Jairazbhoy 1975). This work by Wiercinski (1972) is important because he proved that the Olmec civilization was a cosmopolitan civilization, much like the United States is today. Dr. Wiercinski (1972) claims that some of the Olmecs were of Old World origin, especially African origin. He supports this claim with skeletal evidence from several Olmec sites where he found skeletons that were analogous to the West African type black. Wiercinski discovered that 13.5 percent of the skeletons from Tlatilco and 4.5 percent of the skeletons from Cerro de las Mesas were Africoid ( Rensberger,1988;van Sertima, 1976; Wiercinski, 1972; Wiercinski & Jairazbhoy 1975). Dr. Wiercinski (1972) claims that some of the Olmecs were of African origin. He supports this claim with skeletal evidence from several Olmec sites where he found skeletons that were analogous to the West African type black. Many Olmec skulls show cranial deformations (Pailles, 1980), yet Wiercinski (1972b) was able to determine the ethnic origins of the Olmecs. Marquez (1956, 179-80) made it clear that a common trait of the African skulls found in Mexico include marked prognathousness ,prominent cheek bones are also mentioned. Frontooccipital deformation among the Olmec is not surprising because cranial

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deformations was common among the Mande speaking people until fairly recently (Desplanges, 1906). Many African skeletons have been found in Mexico. Carlo Marquez (1956, pp.179-180) claimed that these skeletons indicated marked pronathousness and prominent cheek bones. Wiercinski found African skeletons at the Olmec sites of Monte Alban, Cerro de las Mesas and Tlatilco. Morley, Brainerd and Sharer (1989) said that Monte Alban was a colonial Olmec center (p.12). Diehl and Coe (1996) admitted that the inspiration of Olmec Horizon A, common to San Lorenzo's iniitial phase has been found at Tlatilco. Moreover, the pottery from this site is engraved with Olmec signs. According to Wiercinski (1972b) Africans represented more than 13.5 percent of the skeletal remains found at Tlatilco and 4.5 percent of the Cerro remains (see Table 2). Wiercinski (1972b) studied a total of 125 crania from Tlatilco and Cerro. There were 38 males and 62 female crania in the study from Tlatilco and 18 males and 7 females from Cerro. Whereas 36 percent of the skeletal remains were of males, 64 percent were women (Wiercinski, 1972b). To determine the racial heritage of the ancient Olmecs, Dr. Wiercinski (1972b) used classic diagnostic traits determined by craniometric and cranioscopic methods. These measurements were then

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compared to a series of three crania sets from Poland, Mongolia and Uganda to represent the three racial categories of mankind. In Table 1, we have the racial composition of the Olmec skulls. The only European type recorded in this table is the Alpine group which represents only 1.9 percent of the crania from Tlatilco. Table 1.Olmec Races Racial Type Subpacific Dongolan Subainuid Pacific Armenoid Armenoid-Bushman Anatolian Alpine Ainuid Ainuid-Arctic Laponoid-Equatorial Pacific-Equatorial

Tlatilco Norm 20 10 7 4 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 13.5 7.7 3.9 3.9 3.9 1.9 1.9 1.9 1.9 1.9 Percent 38.5 19.2

Cerro de Mesas Norm 7 --3 ----1 ------------Percent 63.6 ---27.3 ------9.1 -------------

________________ Totals (norm) 52

________________ 11

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The other alleged "white" crania from Wiercinski's typology of Olmec crania, represent the Dongolan (19.2 percent), Armenoid (7.7 percent), Armenoid-Bushman (3.9 percent) and Anatolian (3.9 percent). The Dongolan, Anatolian and Armenoid terms are euphemisms for the socalled "Brown Race" "Dynastic Race", "Hamitic Race",and etc., which racist Europeans claimed were the founders of civilization in Africa.

Table 2: Racial Composition: Loponoid Armenoid Ainuid+Artic Pacific Equatorial+Bushman Tlatico 21.2 18.3 10.6 36.5 13.5 Cerro de las Mesas 31.8 4.5 13.6 45.5 4.5

Poe (1997), Keita (1993,1996), Carlson and Gerven (1979)and MacGaffey (1970) have made it clear that these people were Africans or Negroes with so-called 'caucasian features' resulting from genetic drift and microevolution (Keita, 1996; Poe, 1997). This would mean that the racial composition of 26.9 percent of the crania found at Tlatilco and 9.1 percent of crania from Cerro de las Mesas were of African origin.
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In Table 2, we record the racial composition of the Olmec according to the Wiercinski (1972b) study. The races recorded in this table are based on the Polish Comparative-Morphological School (PCMS). The PCMS terms Dongolan , Armenoid, and Equatorial groups refer to African people with varying facial features which are all Blacks. This is obvious when we look at the iconographic and sculptural evidence used by Wiercinski (1972b) to support his conclusions. Wiercinski (1972b) compared the physiognomy of the Olmecs to corresponding examples of Olmec sculptures and bas-reliefs on the stelas. For example, Wiercinski (1972b, p.160) makes it clear that the clossal Olmec heads represent the Dongolan type. It is interesting to note that the emperical frequencies of the Dongolan type at Tlatilco is . 231, this was more than twice as high as Wiercinski's theorectical figure of .101, for the presence of Dongolans at Tlatilco. The other possible African type found at Tlatilco and Cerro were the Laponoid group. The Laponoid group represents the AustroloidMelanesian type of (Negro) Pacific Islander, not the Mongolian type. If we add together the following percent of the Olmecs represented in Table 2, by the Laponoid (21.2%), Equatorial (13.5), and Armenoid (18.3) groups we can assume that at least 53 percent of the Olmecs at Tlatilco were Africans or Blacks. Using the same figures recorded in

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Table 2 for Cerro,we observe that 40.8 percent of these Olmecs would have been classified as Black if they lived in contemporary America. Rossum (1996) has criticied the work of Dr. Wiercinski because he found that not only blacks, but whites were also present in ancient America. To support this view he (1) claims that Wiercinski was wrong because he found that Negro/Black people lived in Shang China, and 2) that he compared ancient skeletons to modern Old World people. First, it was not surprising that Wiercinski found affinities between African and ancient Chinese populations, because everyone knows that many Negro/African /Oceanic skeletons (referred to as Loponoid by the Polish school) have been found in ancient China see: Kwang-chih Chang The Archaeology of ancient China (1976,1977, p.76,1987, pp.64,68). These Blacks were spread throughout Kwangsi, Kwantung, Szechwan, Yunnan and Pearl River delta. Skeletons from Liu-Chiang and Dawenkou, early Neolithic sites found in China, were also Negro. Moreover, the Dawenkou skeletons show skull deformation and extraction of teeth customs, analogous to customs among Blacks in Polynesia and Africa. Secondly, Rossum argues that Wiercinski was wrong about Blacks in ancient America because a comparison of modern native American skeletal material and the ancient Olmec skeletal material indicate no admixture. The study of Vargas and Rossum are flawed. They are

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flawed because the skeletal reference collection they used in their comparison of Olmec skeletal remains and modern Amerindian populations because the Mexicans have been mixing with African and European populations since the 1500's. This has left many components of these Old World people within and among Mexican Amerindians. The iconography of the classic Olmec and Mayan civilization show no correspondence in facial features. But many contemporary Maya and other Amerind groups show African characteristics and DNA. Underhill, et al (1996) found that the Mayan people have an African Y chromosome. This would explain the "puffy" faces of contemporary Amerinds, which are incongruent with the Mayan type associated with classic Mayan sculptures and stelas. Wiercinski on the otherhand, compared his SRC to an unmixed European and African sample. This comparison avoided the use of skeletal material that is clearly mixed with Africans and Europeans, in much the same way as the Afro-American people he discussed in his essay who have acquired "white" features since mixing with whites due to the slave trade. A. von Wuthenau (1980), and Wiercinski (1972b) highlight the numerous art pieces depicting the African or Black variety which made up the Olmec people. This re-anlysis of the Olmec skeletal meterial from Tlatilco and Cerro, which correctly identifies Armenoid, Dongolan and

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Loponoid as euphmisms for "Negro" make it clear that a substantial number of the Olmecs were Blacks support the art evidence and writing which point to an African origin for Olmec civilization. In conclusion,Polish physical anthropologist use many terms to refer to the African type represented by Olmec skeletal remains including Armenoid, Dongolan, Loponoid and Equatorial. The evidence of African skeletons found at many Olmec sites, and their trading partners from the Old World found by Dr. Andrzej Wiercinski prove the cosmopolitan nature of Olmec society. This skeletal evidence explains the discovery of many African tribes in Mexico and Central America when Columbus discovered the Americas (de Quatrefages, 1836). The skeletal material from Tlatilco and Cerro de las Mesas and evidence that the Olmecs used an African writing to inscribe their monuments and artifacts, make it clear that Africans were a predominant part of the Olmec population. These Olmecs constructed complex pyramids and large sculptured monuments weighing tons. The Maya during the Pre-Classic period built pyramids over the Olmec pyramids to disguise the Olmec origin of these pyramids. The identification by Dr. Wiercinski of the ethnic origin of the Olmec is the most important discovery of any scientists in relation to the Olmec. Through Dr. Wercinskis discovery that the Olmec may have come from Africa, due to their biological association to Africans

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suggested that the Olmec people probably spoke a language closely related to an African language.

Chapter 2: The Olmec Language The anthropological research by Wiercinski makes it clear that many of the Olmecs were Africans. The fact that many Olmec skeletons were identical to those of people presently living in Africa suggested that the cognate language for the Olmecs might be found in Africa. A likely candidate for the Olmec language was the Mande group of languages spoken over a wide area in Western Africa. This view was supported by the linguistic evidence found by Wiener (1922) that indicate a Mande/Manding substratum exist in many Amerindian languages spoken in Mexico. Moreover, Wiener found startling evidence of cognate Mande cultural items found in the Mayan and Aztec languages. This cognation suggested that the speakers of these languages formerly lived in intimate contact with people speaking Mande languages. Even though there is considerable linguistic evidence supporting the view that the Olmec spoke a Mande language. Some researchers,

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namely Justenson and Kaufman believe that the Olmec spoke a MixeZoque language, since members of this linguistic group live in the Tuxtla mountain region, which was a center of Olmec civilization. There are three problems with the Justenson and Kaufman decipherments of Epi-Olmec: 1) there is no clear evidence of Zoque speakers in Olmec areas 3200 years ago, 2) there is no such thing as a "pre-Proto-Soquean/Zoquean language, 3)there is an absence of a Zoque substratum in the Mayan languages. Lets examine the hypothesis of ,Justenson and Kaufman in their 1997 article claim that they read the Epi-Olmec inscriptions using "pre-ProtoZoquean". This is impossible ,a "Pre-Proto" language refers to the internal reconstruction of vowel patterns, not entire words. Linguists can reconstruct a pre-proto language , but this language is only related to internal developments within the target language. Secondly, Justenson and Kaufman base their claim of a Zoque origin for the Olmec language on the presence of a few Zoque speakers around mount Tuxtla. Justeson and Kaufman maintain that the Olmec people spoke a Otomanguean language. The Otomanguean family includes Zapotec, Mixtec and Otomi to name a few. The hypothesis that the Olmec spoke

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an Otomanguean language is not supported by the contemporary spatial distribution of the languages spoken in the Tabasco/Vera Cruz area. Thomas Lee in R.J. Sharer and D. C. Grove (Eds.), Regional Perspectives on the Olmecs, New York: Cambridge University Press (1989, 223) noted that "...closely Mixe, Zoque and Popoluca languages are spoken in numerous villages in a mixed manner having little or no apparent semblance of linguistic or spatial unity. The general assumption made by the few investigators who have considered the situation, is that the modern linguistic pattern is a result of the disruption of an Old homogeneous language group by more powerful neighbors or invaders...." If this linguistic evidence is correct, many of the languages in the Otomanguean family are spoken by people who may have only recently settled in the Olmec heartland, and may not reflect the people that invented the culture we call Olmecs today. This view us supported by the Mixe-Zoque oral tradition.

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Lipp (1991) recorded the following Mixe tradition for the origins of Mixe rituals: The elders say that there was a people who possessed considerable knowledge and science and that they could make children sick by simply looking at them. At one time they came from a part of Vera Cruz and took up residence here. However, they spoke a different language. Clearly, they were also Mixe but their language was much modified, and we did not understand the words they spoke. In place of tum for 'one' we say tu"k, and in place of pagac, 'thirteen', we say mahktugi:k. But they taught [us] much culture, teachings, and divination, knowledge of the movement of the earth, sun, the movements of the air, winds, and water. All of this they knew"(p.77). This narrative is interesting because it suggest that a group of strangers for Vera Cruz took culture and civilization to the Mixe. The fact that the Olmec came from Vera Cruz leads us to assume that this immigrant group may have been the Olmec people. If the Mixe received their culture from the Olmecs, like the Maya, we can assume that the Mixe were not the original Olmec as maintained by Campbell (1999). Moreover the Mixe languages include many Malinke loan words:

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Figure 9: Malinke-Bambara loans in Mixe Cahp ci su co:n it Kahp kam ko/ku koh ko:ng koya kok heaven squach night to leave place small town planting field head to plant, build king, lord tomato maize flower sa si su ta, tyo ta ka, suffix joined to the name of a locality ga, gba, ka ku(n) ko to create ko person deserving respect koya ka ka jose priest of a cult ma happy issue; to understand

kats black maize kushi calendar priest may to divine

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Finally, the Justenson and Kaufman hypothesis is not supported by the evidence for the origin of the Mayan term for writing. The Mayan term for writing is not related to Zoque. Mayan tradition make it clear that they got writing from another

koya kok

tom ato m aize flower

koya ka ka jose priest of a cult m a happy issue; to understand gba m bo, po (superlative of white) fo arid air

kats black m aize kushi calendar priest m ay to divine ni:p to plant po:b white poh,po purap wind

cultivating tool faalo , faaro hoe -soro si sa tu, du tu heap, raising ground wulu
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shi day,sun sho:sh tuk tun uk snake house hill dog

Meso-American group. Landa noted that the Yucatec Maya claimed that they got writing from a group of foreigners called Tutul Xiu from Nonoulco (Tozzer, 1941). Xiu is not the name for the Zoque. Brown has suggested that the Mayan term c'ib' diffused from the Cholan and Yucatecan Maya to the other Mayan speakers. This term is probably not derived from Mixe-Zoque. If the Maya had got writing from the MixeZoque, the term for writing would Probably be found in a Mixe-Zoque language. The research indicates that no word for writing exist in this language. The absence of a Mixe-Zoque word for writing indicates that the speakers of this language probably did not invent the Olmec writing.

Chapter 3: The Olmec/Mande and Mayan Languages

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Linguistic evidence is the most convicing data supporting a Mande relationship with the Maya, and the Mande origin of Olmec culture. The comparative method can helps us confirm or disconfirm any relationship between the Mayan and Mande languages. The comparative method is used by linguists to determine the relatedness of languages, and to reconstruct earlier language states. The comparative linguist has two major goals (1) trace the history of language families and reconstruct the mother language of each family, and (2) determine the forces which affect language. In general, comparative linguists are interested in determining phonetic laws, analogy/ correspondence and loan words. Patterns of correspondence is the examination of terms which show uniformity. This uniformity leads to the inference that languages are related since conformity of terms in two or more languages indicate they came from a common ancestor. A basic objective of the comparative linguist is to isolate words with common or similar meanings that have systematic consonantal agreement with little regards for the location and/or type of vowels. Consonantal agreement is the regular appearance

33

of consonants at certain locations in words having similar meanings and representing similar speech sounds. Linguistic resemblances denote a historical relationship. This suggest that resemblances in fundamental vocabulary and culture terms can help one reconstruct the culture of the speakers of genetically related languages. We use historical linguistic methods to document the history of a languge in both vocabulary and grammar.

M. Swadesh in "The Language of the Archaeological Haustecs" (1953), presented evidence that the Huastec and Maya languages were separated by a new linguistic group around 3200. This is an interesting date because it was around this time that we see the rise of the Olmec. I have proposed that the Olmec spoke a Mande language similar to Malinke-Bambara. It stands to reason that if this hypothesis is correct we will find evidence of this relationship in the languages spoken by the Maya, because they adopted many aspects of the Olmec culture according to practically all researchers concerned with Mayan history. The Olmec settled many early sites in the lands occupied by the Mayan speaking people.

34

As a result the Mayan speaking people adopted many Olmec/Mande terms. As a result we find numerous Mande words copied into the Yucatec and Quiche Mayan languages. Below we compare the Quiche and Malinke-Bambara languages. The terms compared in this study come from the following sources:

Delafosse, Maurice.(1929). *La Langue Mandingue et ses Dialectes (Malinke, Bambara, Dioula)*. Vol 1. Intro. Grammaire, Lexique Francais Mandingue).Paris: Librarie. Orientaliste Paul Geuthner

Campbell,Lyle.(1977). Quichean linguistic prehistory .Berkeley : University of California Press.University of California publications in linguistics. v. 81

Tedlock,Dennis.(1996). Popol Vuh. New York: A Touchstone Book.

The Mayan languages are spoken in an area from Yucatan and E Chiapas in Mexico, into much of Guatemala and Belize, and W Honduras. The Quiche language is a member of the Mayan family, spoken in the western highlands of Guatemala. It is most closely related to the Cakchiquel, Tzutujil, Sacapultee, and Sipacapa languages

35

of central Guatemala and more distantly related to Pocomam, Pocomch, Kekch, and other languages of the Eastern Mayan group .

I have also illustrated sound regularity in relation to Mayan and Mande lexical items. In my post I noted that: In Malinke-Bambara the word Ka and Kan means 'serpent, upon high,and sky'. In Yucatec we find that can/kan and caan/kaan means ' serpent and heaven'. The fact that both languages share the same homophonic words , point to a formerly intimate contact between the speakers of Mayan and Mande languages in ancient times. Often we find that Mande words beginning with /s/ , appear as /c/ ,/x/ or /k/ in the Mayan languages. For example, Malinke Bambara, the word sa means 'sell, to buy and market'. This is related to Mayan con 'to sell', and can 'serpent'. In Quiche we have ka:x 'sky' which corresponds to Mande sa / ka 'sky'. In Quiche many words beginning with /ch/ correspond to Mande words possessing an initial /k/, e.g.,

Quiche

Malinke-Bambara

36

ch'ich'

bird

kono

achi

man

kye

chi>ic

bite

ki

chhix

rock

kaba

It is also interesting to note that many Quiche words beginning with /x/ which is pronounced 'sh', correspond to Malinke-Bamabara words with an initial /s/ e.g.,

Quiche

Malinke-Bambara

xab'

rain

sa

ixa?

seed

si

uxe

root

sulu, suru

Other Quiche and Mande cognates include:

Quiche

Malinke-Bambara

37

saq'e

daytime,sunlight

sa 'heaven, sky'

k'i

many

kika

ja

lineage, family

ga, gba

ja

water

ji

q'aq

fire

ga-ndi

palo

lake, sea

ba, b'la

k'oto

to carve, cut

ka

k':um

squash

kula, kura

Ba

father

fa

Ba

lord

Ba 'great' (Person)

ka 'land,earth' lands,etc.

ka 'suffix joined to names of

ich

eye

n'ya

le

the, that, this

le

38

ma

no

ma

naal

parent, mother

na

ni

point, at the point

na

cah

earth, land

ka (see above)

balam

jaguar/tiger

balan 'leopard worship'

sib'

smoke

sisi

xolo:m

head

ku

xuku?

boat, canoe

kulu

ca<al

neck

ka

qul

neck

ka

k'u?sh

chest

kesu

k'o:x

mask

ku

pu:m

stomach

furu

pach

bark

fara

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The Quiche and Malinke-Bambara cognates show the following patterns

a------->a

c------->s

o------->u

c------->k

u------->a

z------->s

k------->k

p------->f

q------->k

ch------>k

Below we compared Yucatec and Malinke-Bambara terms. I have placed the page number where each Mayan term can be found in Maurice Swadesh, Critina Alvarez and Juan R. Bastarrachea's, "Diccionario de Elementos del Maya Yucatec Colonial" (Mexico: Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico Centro de Estudios Mayas, 1970). The Malinke-Bambara terms come from

40

Delafosse, Maurice.(1929). *La Langue Mandingue et ses Dialectes (Malinke, Bambara, Dioula)*. Vol 1. Intro. Grammaire, Lexique Francais Mandingue).Paris: Librarie. Orientaliste Paul Geuthner.

Phonetic correspondences exists between the Malinke-Bambara and Yucatec. There is full agreement between k, m,n, and t. There is also assimilation of c to k, z to s.

Yucatec

Malinke Bambara

zuu, 'joined,unite

su,' shape p.95

zul 'to wet'

su, 'precipitation p.95

zou, 'to entagle'

su, 'be i mixture' p.95

zay, 'assemble'

se, 'join'

p.94

earth

cab

ka

p.15

serpent

can

kan

p.18

41

rock

chhix

kaba

to cause

cal

ku

sky

caan

ka

p.15, p.38

village

cah

ka 'suffix joined to names of towns p.15

maize

co 'grain of maize'

ka p.40

sun

kin

k'le

p.58

buckle

kal

koli

p.57

to kill

kim

ki

sky

kan

kan

god, sacre ku

ku, ko

p.60

42

man

ta'

tye p.79

come

tal

ta

p.79

to cover

too

tu

law

toh

tu

truth

toh

tu, 'fact, real'

p.81

forest

te

tu

male

ton,'male sexual organ'

tye, khon p.81

saliva

tub

tu

p.82

went,gone bin

bi

p.36

43

water

bak

ba

water

ha

p.15

lord

ba

ba

arrows

been

bine

balan 'jaguar'/tiger

balan 'leopard worship' p.17

mother

na'

na

p.66

house

nu

nu

house

na

nu

p.66

nose

ni

nu

p.16

to be

pe

pe

to break

pa'a

pe

p.71

44

There are many Maya and Manding cognate kinship terms

including:

Maya

English

Manding

naal

parent,mother

na

ba

father

pa

ba

lord

ba

An examination of Mayan and Mande homophones also indicates striking similarity. There is a connection between MalinkeBambara and Yucatec homonyms for 'high, sky and serpent'. In Malinke-Bambara the word Ka and Kan means 'serpent, upon high,and sky'. In Yucatec we find that can/kan and caan/kaan means ' serpent and heaven'. The fact that both languages share the same homophonic words , point to a formerly intimate contact between the speakers of Mayan and Mande languages in ancient times. Often we find that Mande words beginning with /s/ , appear as

45

/c/ in the Mayan languages. For example, Malinke Bambara, the word sa means 'sell, to buy and market'. This is related to Mayan con 'to sell', and can 'serpent'. For example we have

46

The copying of Mande /s/ words into Mayan lexicons as /c/ words are probably the result of phonological interference of Mayan /c/, which influenced how Malinke-Bambara words were lexicalized by biligual Yucatec speakers. Interference occurs when speakers carry features from their first language over into a second language. Thus, we have Yucatec con 'to sell', and Malinke-Bambara san 'to sell. Phonetic correspondences exists between the Malinke-Bambara and Yucatec. There is full agreement between k, m,n, and t. There is also assimilation of c to k, z to s. Yucatec z s su,' shape p.95 su, 'precipitation p.95 su, 'be i mixture' p.95 se, 'join' p.94 Malinke Bambara

zuu, 'joined,unite zul 'to wet' zou, 'to entagle' zay, 'assemble' c earth serpent rock to cause sky village cab can chhix cal caan cah k

ka kan kaba ku ka

p.15 p.18

p.15, p.38

ka 'suffix joined to

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names of towns p.15 maize co 'grain of maize' ka p.40

k sun buckle to kill sky kin kal kim kan

k k'le koli ki kan ku, ko p.60 p.58 p.57

god, sacre ku

t man come to cover law truth forest male saliva ta' tal too toh toh te

t tye p.79 ta tu tu tu, 'fact, real' tu tye, khon p.81 p.82 p.81 p.79

ton,'male sexual organ' tub b b bi tu

went,gone bin

p.36

48

water water lord arrows

bak ha ba been balam 'jaguar'/tiger n n

ba a ba bine balan 'leopard worship' p.17 p.15

mother house house nose

na' nu na ni p p

na nu nu nu

p.66

p.66 p.16

to be to break

pe pa'a

pe pe p.71

Phonetic correspondences exists between the Malinke-Bambara Yucatec and Quiche. There is full agreement between k, m,n, and t. There is also assimilation of c to k, z to s. Yucatec, Quiche Malinke Bambara

zuu, 'joined,unite zul 'to wet' zou, 'to entagle' zay, 'assemble'

su,' shape su, 'precipitation su, 'be i mixture' se, 'join'

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earth serpent rock to cause sky village

cab can chhix cal caan cah

ka kan kaba ku ka ka 'suffix joined to names of towns

maize

co 'grain of maize'

ka

sun buckle to kill sky

kin kal kim kan

k'le koli ki kan ku, ko ka 'to cut kula, kura

god, sacre ku k'oto 'to carve' squash k':um 'ayote'

man to place to cover

ta' ta too

tye ta tu

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law truth forest male saliva

toh toh te

tu tu, 'fact, real' tu tye, khon

ton,'male sexual organ' tub tu

went,gone bin water water lord arrows bak ha ba been balam 'jaguar'/tiger

bi ba a ba binye balan 'leopard worship'

mother house house nose

na' nu na ni

na nu nu nu

to be to break

pe pa'a

pe pe

seed

ixa?

si

51

rain head boat neck neck chest rain mask water stomach bark rain bird man bite no smoke you I you

xab xolo:m xuxu? ca<al qul k'u'sh ka:x k'o:x ja pu:m pach cha'ac ch'ich achi chi>ic ma:n sib' a n'en, in ech

sa ku kulu ka ka kesu sa, ka ku ji furu fara sa, san, sanji kono kye ki ma sisi a ne, ni e

These cognates show the following patterns a------->a c------->s

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o------->u u------->a x x s k

c------->k z------->s k------->k p------->f ch------>k

q------->k

Many of the Mayan sites were first settled by the Olmec. This is supported by the fact that the Mayan inscriptions from Palenque claim that the first ruler of this city was the Olmec leader U-Kix-chan. In addition, some Mayan kings were styled Kuk according to Mary Miller and Karl Taube,in "The Gods and symbols of ancient Mexico and Maya, said this term was also used in the Olmec inscriptions, like those from Tuxtla, to denote the local ruler of many Olmec sites. It was probably during this period of contact that the Maya began to copy Mande terms and incorporate them in their lexicon. This comparison of Quiche and Yucatec to the Mande languages is a valid way to illustrate the ancient relationship between the Pre-Classic Maya and Mande speaking Olmec. Archaeologist and epigraphers no longer believe that the Classic Maya inscriptions were only written in Cholan Maya. Now scholars recognize that many Mayan inscriptions written during the Classic

53

period were written in Yucatec and probably the language spoken in the area where the Mayan inscriptions are found. See:

1. R. J. Sharer," Diversity and Continuity in Maya civilization: Quirigua as a case study", in (Ed.) T. Patrick Culbert, Classic Maya Political History,( New York:Cambridge University Press, 1996) p. 187.

2. N. Hammond, "Inside the black box:defining Maya polity". In (Ed.) T. Patrick Culbert, Classic Maya Political History, ( New York:Cambridge University Press, 1996) p.254

3. J.S. Justeson, W. M. Norman, L. Campbell, & T.S. Kaufman, The Foreign impact on Lowland Mayan languages ans Script. Middle American Research Institute, Publication 53. New Orleans: Tulane University, 1985.

This would also explain why the Maya, according to Landa had Universities where elites learned writing and other subjects. He noted that the Ahkin May or Ahuacan May (High Priest) "...and his disciples appointed the priests for the towns, examining them in their sciences and ceremonies...he provided their books and sent them forth. They in turn attended to the service of the temples, teaching their sciences and writing books upon them" (see: Friar

54

Diego de Landa, Yucatan before and After the Conquest, (trs.) by William Gates, Dover Publications ,New York, 1978).

There is a clear prevalence of an African substratum for the origin of writing among the Maya. All the experts agree that the Olmec people probably gave writing to the Maya. Mayanist agree that the Brown (1991) found that the Proto Maya term for "write" is *c'ihb' or *c'ib'. Since the Olmec people probably spoke a Mande language, the Mayan term for writing would probably correspond to the Mande term for writing. A comparison of these terms confirmed this hypothesis. The Mayan term for writing *c'ib' or *c'ihb' is derived from the Olmec/Manding term for writing *se'be'. The ancient Mayans wrote their inscriptions in Chol, Yucatec and probably Quiche.

The Proto Olmec or Manding people formerly lived in North Africa in the Saharan Highlands : and Fezzan.(see C. A. Winters, "The Migration routes of the Proto Mande", The Mankind Quarterly 27(1), (1986) pp.77 98) . Here the ancestors of the Olmecs left their oldest inscription written in the Manding script (which some people call Libyco Berber, eventhough they can not be read in Berber) : was found at Oued Mertoutek and dated by Wulsin in , Papers of the peabody Museum of American Arcaheology and Ethnology (Vol.19(1), 1940), to 3000 B.C. This indicates that the Manding hand writing 2000 years before they settled the Gulf of Mexico.

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These Proto-Olmec people lived in the Highlands of the Sahara. Here we find numerous depictions of boats engraved in the rock formations that these people used to navigate the Sahara before it became a desert.

The Olmec, another Central American culture and probably the first Americans to develop a number and math system, influenced their Mayan neighbors. Mayans borrowed much of their art and architecture from the Olmecs, including the pyramid structures that the Mayans are so famous for. The first of these great Mayan structures appeared between 400 B.C. and 150 A.D.

56

It is time that we stop the name calling and work together to explain to the world the African presence in ancient America.

Many of these words are from the basic vocabulary. They support the hypothesis that in ancient times Mayan speakers lived in intimate contact with the Mande speaking Olmec people. Moreover this is further confirmation of Leo Wiener's theory in Africa and the Discovery of America that the religion and culture of the Meso-Americans was influenced by Mande speaking people from West Africa.

Chapter 4: The Olmec Phonology

The Olmec language is an agglutinative language. Words are formed in Olmec by the addition of suffixes to Olmec morphemes. Due to homophony of Olmec monosyllabic signs the same sign and its word form can have multiple meanings. To understand Olmec writing you must use the acrophonic principle to interpret the Olmec logosyllabic signs.

The unit of the Olmec logosyllabary is consonant ( C) and vowel (V) or CCV. Each symbol can have multiple meanings. The Olmec consonant system is as follows p b f w m t d s r n k g h y kp gb

The Olmec consonants have the following pronounciation B D Gy F G K L M N boy dog jump full gull canvas log man note In Olmec nasal consonants occur in initial position before another sonsonant. For example, n is pronounced m before p and kb; n is pronounced before k and g. Pronouns p r s t sing pure ran saw tip

The are three pronouns in the Olmec inscriptions. They are : n, I i, I, me you, your

a,

it, he; she

. In Olmec the pronoun is usually suffixed to the morpheme, but it can also occur in the initial position. For example, a a literal translation (Lit.) It is a leading tomb. A Lit. He ku Govenor po pure bu-mbo gigantic gyu spirit of it ku leading yu tomb

tranquility He is a Governor of gigantic purity the source of spiritual tranquility. A Lit. He ku in possession ni principle of life

He is in possession of the principle of life. A Lit. it ku stem po pure

It is a pure stem. A ta ni ngba i

Lit.

it

here

soul

home

thou

It is here. (This) is the home of your soul. The most common pronoun in Olmec was the second person pronoun i . The pronoun i, means thine, thou, you and your. For example, S Lit. successful i thou

Thou art successful. Po Lit. pure i your to/tu King

Your pure King. I Lit. thou la firmly situation gyo divinity

Thou (art) firmly situated with the divinity. I Lit. Thou I Lit. thou po pure gyo cult leader pa admiration

Thou (art) a cult leader of admiration There is only one example of the first person pronoun n, in the Olmec inscriptions. This phrase is nde po tu ta , Lit. my union purity

rule sacred. The translation is My union (with) purity and sacred rule or it could read My union (with) purity (and) rule of the mystic order.

Chapter 5: Olmec Nouns There are three types of nouns in Olmec. These nouns represent inanimate and animate objects and qualities held to be superior traits for mankind. Inanimate Nouns Bi, custom (habit), times of narration Bolo, vestibule

Da

prize

fa, container, proximity

place spot,

fa, abundance, full, plenitude; love fo, salutations ga , hearth, home gbe, II cleasing, sanctified

gyo, amulet, talisman effective in providing one with virtue

Ka, family maison, family house k, to study, learn, read

ki, order, commandment, law, envoy on a mission, raising star

O Ta ki

Sacred raising star kyu, tomb

la, good situation, apogee, foundation, gone to bed

la

po

tu

The pure craftsman of the cult association.

m, understanding, judgment, comprehension; skill

(n)de, uncultivated land, uncultivated land near a river nga, glow ngba, home

sa,

air, heaven, end

, village , ta ku (This) place (is) tops. O

su, city, home, village, home, domicle,

ta, habitation, place

to, place of rest

tu, refuge, abode yo / yu , large hemisphere tomb

yu large hemisphere tomb

to place of rest here

ta

se realize

Here to be realized the large hemisphere tomb as a place of rest. Animate nouns include the following terms.

Ba, powerful, spirit body Bo, great, moral gradeur, to merit II Gyo-se, descendant of the divinity, son of god

Ku, head, Govenor Kye, man

La, craftsman, artisan

Sa, excellency, lord II Se gyo, supporter of the divinity

Tu / to, King, head of government, law

Nouns of Quality The are a number of Olmec nouns that describe a human quality or state of existence. These nouns include the following:

Bu , state of retreat

Fe, desire, wish Fa, possession

Gina, to be endowed with mysterious faculties

Gyu, spiritual tranquility

Ngbe, white, favorable

ni, principal of life

po, purity, righteous se, clever, victorious, power

ta, sacred object, mystic order, propriety

yo, vital spirit, image of the race Below are a number of quality nouns used in Olmec sentences. 1. , fe po kye The pure wish for order

Chapter 6: The Olmec Adjectives and Adverbs

There are a number of adjectives in the Olmec language. The most common Olmec adjectives include the following:

Ba, grand, great, strong, robust Bo, to finish

Bu, ample, big, large; Bu-mbo, size, bulk, bigness, gigantic

Da, grand (used to describe dignitaries, and elites)

P, vast, huge, immense Po, pure, purity Su, vigorous

Ku, leading

In Olmec the adjective usually follows the noun or verb. Here we have ba, which is joined to nouns to denote the idea of greatness,

physical or moral, e.g., a ky ba, This man is great. For example lets look at the adjectives: bu, and p: 1. Tyu a ki bu Lit. Tomb his laws ample Trans. His tomb (is) ample Law. 2. Tu pe I p Lit. King prodigious is superior. Trans. The prodigious king is superior. In many cases the pronoun usually follows the adjective in Olmec sentences. The most common pronoun in Olmec is a , he, she, it. For example,

ba 1. La ku ba

ku

la

Lit. dormitory Governor large i Trans. The Governors large dormitory .

a La ku ba-a

ba

ku

la

Lit dormitory Governor large it Trans. The Governors dormitory (family burial site) it is large.

In some cases the adjective is placed before the noun. This is especially true in relation to the adjective p , extensive, vast, and important. For example, 1. P kyu Lit. Prodigious Tomb. 2. P gyo a kye ba Lit. important effective wonder making power he man/personage considerable Trans. He is indeed an important personage (with) considerable wonder making powers. 3. P gyo po ni Lit. vast talisman pure soul Trans. A vast talisman is the pure soul 4. Po ka I se Lit. pure family mansion your realized Trans. Your pure family mansion is realized (here).

Chapter 7: Adverbs In Olmec there are five adverbs. Like the adjectives in Olmec the adverb can be placed either at the beginning of a sentence or after a noun or verb. For example, a, indeed 1. a I p gyu Lit. indeed thou assumed source of spiritual tranquility Trans. Thou indeed (have) assumed the (posture) (of a) source (of) spiritual tranquility.

The term 2. la pe ta p

p , indeed is also an adverb. For example,

Lit. craftsman prodigious superior indeed Trans. The prodigious craftsman indeed, is superior. In addition to b , representing the verb to be, it can also

represent the adverb here and very much. For example, 3. B ni gyo Lit. Here/ very much propriety talisman Trans. This talisman has very much propriety.

Olmec adverbs

da now, at this moment and

bi, , present, moment, and coincidence are frequently used . For example, 4. yu po gbe bi Lit. big hemisphere tomb sanctified at present Trans. The big hemisphere tomb at this moment is sanctified. 5. da bu po I ki Lit. at this moment in state of retreat purity thou an envoy on a mission Trans. At this moment (you are) in a state of retreat, thou purity (is like) an envoy on a mission (to spread good). 6. ta la da bo Lit. sacred object craftsman grand moral grandeur Trans. Sacred object (of) the grand Craftsman of moral grandeur. Other Olmec adverbs include li indeed, ta here, and ku cleansing. For example, 7. li gyo Lit. Indeed a specialist of the cult/religious order. 8. lit u Lit. Indeed, the Ruler. 9. ni lu nga ta Lit. propriety much glow here

Trans. Much propriety glows here. 10. po mi ta Lit. pure imbibitions here Trans. Here are pure imbibitions. 11. su po ku i nu Lit. offer libations pure cleansing thou habitation Trans. Offer pure cleansing libations in though habitation.

Chapter 8: Olmec Articles

The article the, this, etc., are usually not written in the Olmec inscriptions. But there are to frequently used articles in Olmec

i the, this, and

tu this. These articles are

usually suffixed to adjectives especially po pure, purity. For example, 1. gyo po Lit. talisman effective in providing one with virtue pure Trans. pure talisman effective in providing one with virtue Gyo po-i Lit. talisman effective in providing one with virtue pure this Trans. This pure talisman effective in providing one with virtue. 2. fa po tu Lit. container pure Law

Trans. Container of the pure Law I fa po tu Lit. this container pure law Trans. This container (of) the pure Law.

Chapter 9: Olmec Sentence

The Olmec inscriptions provide us with several sentence patterns, depending on the type of inscriptions. The terseness of the Olmec inscriptions allowed considerable grammatical license in the inscriptions. The favorite sentence pattern of a language includes a subject (S), verb (V) and object (O). The order of Olmec sentences vary, but the usual sentence pattern is SVO. For example,

ni 1. ta Lit. habitation b very much ni propriety

ta

Trans. This habitation has very much propriety.

su 2. tu

ta fa

fa ta

tu su offer up libations

Lit. abode possession partisan of the mystic order

Trans. This abode is in the possession of the partisan of the mystic order, (here) offer up libations.

3. su Lit. domicile

i is

su honored as a libation

Trans. This domicile is honored as a libation. 4. tu yu ta is i ngbe unblemished

Lit. king tomb sacred object

Trans. The kings tomb is a sacre unblemished object. 5. ki Lit. the order ku to touch from a distance lu hold it upright

Trans. (He) touches from a distance the order (of the cult), to hold it upright. There are also some VSO sentences in Olmec. The VSO sentences are usually short statements. For example, 1. tu gbe

Lit. cause to grow righteousness 2. da Lit. arrange 3. ta Lit. welcome bo moral gradeur. me understanding

Chapter 10: The Olmec Writing

The second source of evidence for the African origin of the Olmecs comes from the writing of the Maya and Olmec people. As mentioned earlier most experts believe that the Mayan writing system came from the Olmecs (Soustelle, 1984). The evidence of African style writing among the Olmecs is evidence for Old World influence in Mexico. The Olmec people introduced writing to the New World. Many MesoAmerican accept the possibility that the Olmecs were the first to 1) invent a complex system of chronology; 2) a method of calculating time; and 3) a hieroglyphic script which was later adopted by the Izapan and Mayan civilizations (Soustelle, 1984). As a result, the Olmec people left numerous inscriptions on monuments, celts and portable artifacts that give us keen insight into the Olmec culture, religion and politics. Over a decade ago Winters (1979, 1997) deciphered the Olmec writing and discovered that you could read the Olmec inscriptions using the sound value of the Vai signs. The Olmecs spoke and aspect of the Manding (Malinke-Bambara) language spoken in West Africa (Winters, 1979, 1980, 1981,1984).

Scholars have long recognized that the Olmecs engraved many symbols or signs on pottery, statuettes, batons/scepters, stelas and bas reliefs that have been regarded as a possible form of writing (Coe, 1965; Gay ,1973; Popenoe and Hatch , 1971 ; Soustelle, 1984). These experts accept the view that the system of dots and bars whether associated with glyphs or not, found on Olmec artifacts probably indicated their possession of a system of chronology (Soustelle, 1984). As a result, we find that the Olmec monuments: Altar 7, of LaVenta; Stela no.7 of LaVenta; Monument E at Tres Zapotes; Stela C of Tres Zapotes; and the Tuxtla statuette are engraved with calendrical information (Morell, 1991; Soustelle, 1984). Although many Meso-Americanists accept the view that the Olmecs possessed calendrical symbols controversy surrounds the presence of writing among the Olmecs. Wiener (1922) and Lawrence (1961) have maintained that the Olmec writing was identical to the Manding writing used in Africa. Michael Coe and John Justeson (until recently), on the otherhand believe that the Olmecs possessed a form of iconography but not writing (Morell, 1991). Many theories have been promoted in relation to the origin of Olmec writing. Some researchers claim it may be related to the Oracle bone writing of the ancient Chinese.

Michael Xu assistant professor of Chinese Studies at Texas Christian University has proposed that the Olmec people may have written in the Chinese language. He based his opinion on the alleged similarity between the Olmec writing and the Shang writing. The Chinese wrote their inscriptions on Oracle bones. These Oracle

bone inscriptions were written by the Shang people to divine the future. This theory is fine except for the fact that the Olmec writing has little affinity to the Shang writing. Moreover some of the alleged

similarities found by Dr. Xu do not relate to Shang witing at all. A careful examination of the Shang table below and

the Oracle bone inscriptions clearly show that none of these signs are identical to the Olmec writing found on the LaVenta celt as claimed by Professor Xu. A Cursory examination of the Shang signs depicted in table ____ clearly show that they do not match the alleged Shang signs identified by Xu in his article. In fact, a comparison of the actual signs on the LaVenta celt and the alleged "Shang" signs lack any agreement.

The view that Africans originated writing in America is not new. Scholars early recognized the affinity between Amerindian scripts and the Mande script(s). By 1832, Rafinesque noted the similarities between the Mayan glyphs and the Libyco-Berber writing. And Leo Wiener (1922, v.3), was

the first researcher to recognize the resemblance's between the Manding writing and the symbols on the Tuxtla statuette. In addition, Harold Lawrence (1962) noted that the "petroglyphic" inscriptions found throughout much of the southern hemisphere compared identically with the writing system of the Manding. The Olmecs have left numerous symbols or signs inscribed on pottery, statuettes, batons/scepters, stelas and bas-reliefs that have been recognized as writing ( Soustelle, 1984; von Wuthenau, 1980; Winters, 1979). The view that the Olmecs were the first Americans to 1) invent a complex system of chronology, 2) a method of calculating time, and 3) a hieroglyphic script which was later adopted by Izapan and Mayan civilizations, is now accepted by practically all Meso-American specialist (Soustelle, 1984). The Olmecs probably founded writing in the Mexico. Schele and Freide (1990) have discussed the Olmec influence over the Maya. This agreed with Brainerd and Sharer's, The ancient Maya (1983, p.65) concept of colonial Olmec at Mayan sites. Moreover, this view is supported by the appearance of jaguar stucco mask pyramids (probably built by the Olmecs) under Mayan pyramids e.g., Cerros Structure 5-C-2nd, Uxaxacatun pyramid and structure 5D-22 at Tikal. This would conform to Schele and Freidel's belief that the monumental structures of the Maya were derived from Olmec prototypes.

An Olmec origin for many PreClassic Maya sites, would explain the cover-up of the jaguar stucco mask pyramids with classic Maya pyramids at these sites. It would also explain Schele and Freidel's (1990) claim that the first king of Palenque was the Olmec leader U-Kixchan; and that the ancient Maya adopted many Olmec social institutions and Olmec symbolic imagery. Over a decade ago I deciphered the Olmec writing and discovered that you could read the Maya inscriptions using the sound value of the Olmec signs--read in Yucatec. The Olmecs spoke and aspect of the Manding (Malinke-Bambara) language spoken in West Africa (Winters, 1979, 1980, 1981,1984). B. Stross (1973) mentions the Mayan tradition for a foreign origin of Mayan writing. This idea is also confirmed by Mayan oral tradition (Tozzer, 1941), and C.H. Brown (1991) who claimed that writing did not exist among the Proto-Maya. Terrence Kaufman has proposed that the Olmec spoke a MexeZoquean speech and therefore the authors of Olmec writing were MexeZoquean speakers. This view fails to match the epigraphic evidence. The Olmec people spoke a Manding (Malinke-Bambara) language and not Zoquean. There is a clear African substratum for the origin of writing among the Maya (Wiener, 1922). All the experts agree that the Olmec people gave the

Maya people writing (Schele & Freidel, 1990; Soustelle, 1984). Mayanist also agree that the Proto-Maya term for writing was *c'ihb' or *c'ib'. _____________________________________________________________Fi gure 1. Mayan Terms for Writing Yucatec Lacandon Itza Mopan c'i:b' c'ib' Chorti c'ihb'a Chol c'hb'an Ixil Mam Teco c'ib' c'i:b'at c'i:b'a

c'ib' c'ib'

Chontal c'ib' Tzeltalan c'ib'

Proto-Term for write *c'ib'

The Mayan /c/ is often pronounced like the hard Spanish /c/ and has a /s/ sound. Brown (1991) argues that *c'ihb may be the ancient Mayan term for writing but, it can not be Proto-Mayan because writing did not exist among the Maya until 600 B.C. This was 1500 years after the break up of the ProtoMaya (Brown, 1991). Landa makes it clear that supports the linguistic evidence (Tozzer, 1941). Landa noted that the Yucatec Maya claimed that they got writing from a group of foreigners called Tutul Xiu from Nonoulco (Tozzer, 1941). The Tutul Xi were probably Manding speaking Olmecs. The term Tutul Xiu, can be translated using Manding as follows: Tutul1, "Very good subjects of the Order".

1. This -l, in Tutu-l, is probably the suffix of augmentation.

Xiu2,

"The Shi (/the race)".

"The Shis (who) are very good Subjects of the cult-Order". The term Shi, is probably related to the Manding term Si, which was also used as an ethnonym. The Mayan term for writing is derived from the Manding term *se'be. Below are the various terms for writing used by the Manding/Mande people for writing. _____________________________________________________________Fi gure 2.Manding Term for Writing

Malinke Bambara Dioula Sarakole

se'be se'be se'we' safa

Serere safe Susu Samo W. Malinke se'be se'be safa , *saf

Proto-Term for writing *se'be

_____________________________________________________________ Brown has suggested that the Mayan term c'ib' diffused from the Cholan and Yucatecan Maya to the other Mayan speakers. This term is probably derived from Manding *Se'be which is analogous to *c'ib'. This would explain the identification of the Olmec or Xi/Shi people as Manding speakers.

2. The -u, element is the plural suffix for the Manding languages.

There are other Mayan terms that are derived from the Olmec language. Below we provide lexical evidence of the affinity between Yucatec Maya and Olmec-Manding: MAYA bak balan ba ku kan ka kaan kan na na, nu toh ch'ul ma pib water, river jaguar lord sacred, god snake earth, land sky, heaven maize mother house law holy great te jo ma pe, p ka na nu Olmec-Manding ba balam ba ko ka ka ka

hole in ground, underground

In summary , the Mayan term for writing was derived from the Olmec people who introduced writing to the Maya when they met at Nonoulco. These

Manding speaking people came to Mexico in twelve waves of immigrants around 1200 B.C.

Method of Decipherment In 1979, I announced the decipherment of the Olmec writing (Winters, 1979). It is generally accepted that the decipherment of an unknown language/script requires 1) bilingual texts and/or 2) knowledge of the cognate language(s). It has long been felt by many Meso-Americanist that the Olmec writing met non of these criteria because, no one knew exactly what language was spoken by the Olmec that appear suddenly at San Lorenzo and La Venta in Veracruz, around 1200 B.C. This was a false analogy. There has been for over 50 years evidence that the Olmec people probably wrote there inscriptions in the Manding language and the Manding writing from North Africa called Libyco-Berber, was used to write the Olmec language To decipher an unknown script it is unnecessary to reconstruct the Protolanguage of the authors of the target script. In both the major decipherments of ancient scripts, e.g., cuneiform and Egyptian, contemporary languages in their synchronic states were used to gleam insight into the reading of dead languages. No one can deny, that it was Champolion's knowledge of Coptic, that led to his successful decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphics.

The view that Africans originated writing in America is not new. Scholars early recognized the affinity between Amerindian scripts and the Mande script(s). By 1832, Rafinesque noted the similarities between the Mayan glyphs and the Libyco-Berber writing. And Leo Wiener (1922, v.3), was the first researcher to recognize the resemblances between the Manding writing and the symbols on the Tuxtla statuette. In addition, Harold Lawrence (1962) noted that the "petroglyphic" inscriptions found throughout much of the southern hemisphere compared identically with the writing system of the Manding. Rafinesque (1832) published an important paper on the Mayan writing that helped in the decipherment of the Olmec Writing. In this paper he discussed

the fact that when the Mayan glyphs were broken down into their constituent parts, they were analogous to the ancient Libyco-Berber writing . The LibycoBerber writing can not be read in either Berber or Taurag, even though these people use an alphabetic script similar to the Libyco-Berber script which is syllabic CV and CVC in structure. This was an important article because it offered the possibility that the Mayan signs could be read by comparing them to the Libyco-Berber symbols (Rafineque, 1832). This was not a farfetched idea, because we know for a fact that the cuneiform writing was used to write four different languages: Sumerian, Hittite, Assyrian and Akkadian.

I was able to read the Libyco-Berber signs because they are analogous to the Mande signs recorded by Delafosse (1899). These Mande speakers, or the Si people , now centered in West Africa and the Sahelian region formerly lived in an area where Libyco-Berber inscriptions are found (Winters, 1983, 1986). Using the Manding languages I have been able to decipher the Libyco-Berber inscriptions (Winters, 1983). The second clue to the Manding origin of the Olmec writing was provided by Leo Wiener in Africa and the Discovery of America (1922,v.3). Wiener presented evidence that the High Civilizations of Mexico (Maya and Aztecs) had acquired many of the cultural and religious traditions of the MalinkeBambara (Manding people) of West Africa. In volume 3, of Africa and the Discovery of America, Wiener discussed the analogy between the glyphs on the Tuxtla statuette and the Manding glyphs engraved on rocks in Mandeland. I was able to test the hypothesis of Rafinesque and Wiener through a comparison of the signs inscribed on the Tuxtla statuette and the La Venta celts ( Winters, 1979). Using the should values from the Manding symbols, to read the La Venta celts I was able to decipher both the celts and other Olmec inscriptions. The Mande people often refer to themselves as Sye or Si 'black, race, family, etc.'. The Si people appear to have been mentioned by the Maya (Tozzer, 1941). Tozzer (1941) claimed that the Yucatec Maya said that the Tutul Xiu (shiu), a group of foreigners from zuiva, in Nonoualoco territory

taught the Maya how to read and write. This term Xiu agrees with the name Si, for the Manding people (also it should be noted that in the Manding languages the plural number is formed by the suffix -u, -wu). Progress in deciphering the Olmec writing has depended largely on a knowledge of the Malinke-Bambara (Manding) languages and the Vai writing system (Delofosse, 1899). This language is monosyllabic. The terms in the Manding languages explain the characteristics of the Olmec civilization. The Olmec inscriptions are primarily of three types 1) talismanic inscriptions found on monuments, statuettes, vessels, masks, and celts; 2) obituaries found on celts and other burial artifacts; and 3) signs on scepters denoting political authority. The Olmec script has two forms or stages : 1) syllabic and 2) hieroglyphic. The syllabic script was employed in the Olmec writing found on the masks, celts, statuettes and portable artifacts in general. The hieroglyphic script is usually employed on bas-reliefs, stelas (i.e., Mojarra, and tomb wall writing. The only exception to this rule for Olmec writing was the Tuxtla statuette. Olmec was an agglutinative language. Olmec had mixed syntactic constituents because of its use of affixes. The basic word order for Olmec was subject (S), object (O), and vowel (V) in simple declarative sentences. Due to the use of several prefixes in Olmec there are some VO sentences in the corpus of Olmec inscriptions. The Olmec script has 13 consonants:

k g d t n b f p m y l w s In the Olmec script the consonants k, m, and n, was often placed in front of selected Olmec words, e.g., be : mbe, ngbe; and pe: Kpe. In these instances the nasal consonant can be dropped, and the monosyllabic word following the initial consonant element can be read , e.g., Kpe= pe ' spacious, pin down, flat lands, etc. Thusly, the appearance of CCV or CCCV Olmec forms are the result of the addition of initial consonantal elements to monosyllabic Olmec terms. -y-b-d-

Chapter 11: Syllabic Writing

The famous inscribed celts of offering no.4 LaVenta, indicate both the plain (Fig. 1) and cursive syllabic Olmec scripts (Fig. 2). In the cursive form of the writing the individual syllabic signs are joined to one another, in the plain

Olmec writing the signs stand alone. The cursive Olmec script probably evolved into Olmec hieroglyphics. The inscriptions engraved on celts and batons are more rounded than the script used on masks, statuettes and bas-reliefs. The pottery writing on the Los Bocas and Tlatilco ware are also in a fine rounded style. In this chapter we will use the inscribed celts found at La Venta in 1955, at offering No.4, the inscribed jadeite celt from near El Sitio, and the Black Stone Serpent Scepter of Cardenas, Tabasco as examples of the Olmec writing. All the translations of Olmec artifacts are based on the Manding dictionary of Delafosse (1921). The celts of La Venta offering no.4, were discovered by Drucker in 1955. These celts show both the plain and cursive forms of the Olmec script. These inscribed celts were part of a collection of 16 figurines and jade and serpentine found in offering no.4 (Soustelle, 1984). In La Venta offering no.4, fifteen figurines were arranged around a central figure. According to the inscriptions on the celts in this collection, the personage buried in this tomb was P. The bold head of P suggest that he was their cult leader. A pit had been dug over the incised celts and figurines, a hole leading from the earth's surface down to the burial cache suggest that this was used for pouring libations on the figurines. This view is supported by the fact that the

inscriptions written in the plain Olmec syllabic style ( Fig. 1), mentions the fact that P tomb was to act as a talisman or protective shrine for the faithful. The six celts found in La Venta offering no.4, were arranged in a semicircle. Four of the celts were engraved. The first and last celts in the semicircle were not engraved. Moving from left to right two engraved jade celts when joined together depict an Olmec priest wearing an elaborate headdress and holding what appears to be a torch or baton in his hand. This figure probably represented P. It is analogous to the figure engraved on a jade Breastplate (no. 13:583), now located in the National Museum of Anthropology at Mexico City ( Wuthenau, 1980). The first two celts probably were originally joined together and served as a symbol of authority for the deceased priest while he was alive. The breakage of this celt into two parts probably symbolized the withdrawal of the priest's physical body, from the physical plane to the spiritual plane. The placement in the tomb of P's "celt of power" was meant to hold his spiritual power at the grave site. The third engraved celt at La Venta offering no.4, was engraved in the cursive Olmec script (Fig. 2). In the text of the cursive script we find P's obituary.

La Venta Celts La Venta Celts

Transliteration of Symbols on Figure 1 F f mi p po gb below (in)

without breath lu

void consumed P pure/holy b ma

the family habitation yu

lay low the celebrity (the) Lord (in) ka-p ba Ka-P yu ko the Great we Hence (in) the back of

the big hemisphere tomb se (to) possess for posterity ta this place lu

the big hemisphere tomb ba i thine

the family habitation great/strong

gba fixed in the ground mbe lay low the celebrity

ky

be

po here pure/holy

inheritance/estate be

lay low the celebrity. Translation

" Without breath. Void. Consumed (lies) the Hole P, below the family habitation. Lay low the celebrity, the Lord, in the hemisphere tomb. The Great Ka-P, in the back of the big hemisphere tomb, possesses (this place) for

posterity. Thine inheritance (is) fixed in this ground. Here the pure celebrity lays low. Lay low the celebrity". Vocabulary f, v. to be void, empty, without breath mi, v. consumed P, proper name; v. spacious, pin down

po, adj. : superlative of white translated as holy, pure, the gb, v. lay low, below; virtue lu, family habitation b, v: lay low the celebrity ma, it can be translated as "Great one" or "Lord"; it can also be a suffix joined to a substantive or a verb to show intensity. yu, the big hemisphere tomb Ka, a title given to Olmec elites ba, adj.: great ka, adv.: in the back of se, possess (this place) for posterity we, adv.: hence ta, this place, place, here lu, n.: the family habitation ba, adj.: great i, pronominal particle of the second person: thine, thou, you gba, transitive v.: fixed in the ground ky, inheritance, estate be, here

good

It is interesting to note that on this celt, after the use of the Olmec term po, a /g/ or /m/ is prefixed to b, to make this word into a CCV

term. Another interesting fact about this inscription is that reduplication is used at the end, and beginning of this inscription to denote emphasis. The fourth engraved celt from left to right in La Venta offering no.4, is written in the plain Olmec script (Fig. 1). This inscription declares that the tomb of P is a talisman of great power.

Transliteration of Figure 1 Ky A man gyo the leader of the cult d gb indeed virtue

le to be

gyo

we

mb hence

to place of rest

consecration

here

he good

gyo talisman. Translation

"The man (was) the leader of the cult. Indeed (a man of) virtue to be an object of consecration. Hence here a place of rest (a) good talisman (protective shrine for the faithful)". Vocabulary ky, Man gyo, one faithful to the cult/deity, object of consecration, leader of the cult association; talisman, amulet d, suffix of determination or definite article; indeed gb, virtue, righteousness, etc. le, verbal postposition: to be we, adv.: therefore, hence mb, here to, place of rest he, adj.: good

Navarrete (1974) , has published two interesting engraved pieces. They are scepters, the Black Stone Serpent Scepter (Fig.3) and, an incised jadeite celt from El Sitio (Fig. 4). The Black stone scepter from Cardenas, Tobasco ( Fig. 3) has only two characters to/tu and b. These characters indicate that this was indeed a scepter and symbolized the sovereign's high office and power. The signs tu b can be interpreted as "Royalty rest here" or "Scrupulous observer of the Law".

Chapter 12: Hieroglyphic Olmec Writing

There are two forms of Olmec hieroglyphic writing : the pure hieroglyphics ( or picture signs); and the phonetic hieroglyphics. The phonetic hieroglyphics are a combination of syllabic and logographic signs. Below is an Olmec sign from the Tuxtla statuette:

pe

extensive,pit hole in ground

gyo(> jo)

effective talisman, wonder

making power

a kye ba

this, it man great

Translation " Extensive (and) effective wonder making power. This man is great". To read hieroglyphic Olmec you have to break down the symbols into their phonetic elements. This means that the hieroglyphs are made up of Olmec phonetic signs.

Figure 12: 1 Inscriptions from the Tuxtla Statuette

Above you can see how the Olmec signs when broken down into their constituent parts represent Olmec syllabic symbols.

Most of the hieroglyphic Olmec signs are found on the Tuxtla statuette and the Mojarra Stela. Below are some of the most frequent hieroglyphic signs from these monuments.

Su Po ku i-nu , Offer pure cleansing libations in thou habitation.

Po ka , Your pure family mansion .

a ta. ni ngba i, It is here. This it the home of your soul.

Pe to ta, The abode of refuge (it) is thrust in the ground here.

P gyo . A ky ba, He was (indeed) an important personage (with) considerable and effective wonder making powers.

Po tu fa gyo, This Holy Ruler possesses the spirit of the divinity.

Fa po, (He) is in possession of much purity.

Po tu, The pure habitation or (He) is the same as purity or Po tu yo, The pure refuge of the soul..

Yu po gbe bi, Henceforth, the big hemisphere tomb is pure righteousness or The soul is sanctified and henceforth holy.

Po bolo ni, The pure vestibule of Propriety.

So gap o tu ni, Give libations at this pure hearth, a refuge of propriety.

Po b kpa lu. Tu ta yo, Lay low the celebrity with approval. This is a place of refuge for the soul.

I kyu, Thou suddenness.

Ni lu nga ta, Much propriety glows here.

Na Tutu, To touch from a distance Tutu.

Ku a ti ku to, He is at the commencement of (re)birth.

Tu to ta se, The large hemisphere tomb is a place of rest to be realized here.

I la gyo, Thou (art) firmly situated with the divinity.

Te te The very honest.

Po Tutu, The Holy Tutu.

Yu i ta, The big hemisphere tomb is thine.

Tutu, name of personage referred to on the Tuxtla statuette.

The abode of pure refuge.

Po gbe, Pure Righteousness.

Da bu po i ki, At this moment (you are) in a state of retreatpuirty thou (art) an envoy on a mission.

Bi ki gyo. A mbo. Da b mbo gyo ni, The great ancestor (he) works like a talisman. Indeed (he is) like a raising star. At this moment (he) exist in parity to a talisman.

Yu yu. Po mi ta. Yu yu, Offer pure libations (at) this large hemisphere tomb.

Tu ni. Tu ni, Cause (here) the conferring of all his virtue to this very good abode.

Yo pe, His vital spirit.

Fe ki po mbo Po so, The proximity to the pure law is coming out of this pure abode.

Ta ku. Tyu a ki bu, This place is tops, or This tomb, it gives messages/law/order.

Tu po gbe ni, This place of rest is pure righteousness. , su, offer up libations.

Po mi ta, This pure place of imbibition.

Po tu ni , Place of pure propriety.

Po nub a-na a p mbo na b kye ba nu ni , His pure soul brings strength. He has assumed the equivalence (to be s divinity). The summit of purity has refuge here. (Here) very much propriety.

A po mbo kyu Yu yu, This tomb is as pure as the celebrity inside the tomb.

Po b ta, Exist in a pure unique state, 1) Lay low the pure celebrity alone, 2) Lay low the pure celebrity to sleep, 3) Lay low the pure celebrity in a good situation.

To realize no vice (at) this habitation.

A ku po bu mbo gyu, He is a Governor of gigantic purity, the source of spiritual tranquility or He is a pure stem. [He] give(s) a blow to crush evil.

A Ku ni. Pe gyo po ni, A vast talisman to confer the fruit of conception, 2) He is the summit of the manifestation of life, 3) A vast talisman is [his] Ni, he is the summit of the pure Ni.

B ta m,Exist in a unique state of spiritual tranquility.

Ki ku lu , [He will] touch from a distance the Order, to hold it upright.

Tu ni nit u, Cause (here) the conferring of all his virtue to this very abode.

Be fo i, Thou gives salutations (here) [to the celebrity laid low].

The phonetic hieroglyphic Olmec signs do not stand for one word, these signs are Olmec compound symbols organized to make a picture. There are two types of Olmec compoundsigns: subordinate and synthetic. In the subordinate compound signs we see the combining of two or more Olmec base signs or roots representing a noun and a verb. Examples of this compound type are found in the El Sitio celt and the Tuxtla statuette. Below we find examples of the subordinate Olmec compound signs:

P to ta "The abode of refuge (it) is thrust in the ground".

P gyo. A ky ba "Extensive (and) effective wonder working power. This man (is) great".

A ku po bu mbo gyu

"It is a pure stem; give a blow to crush evil".

Figure 12:2 El Sitio Celt


The characters written on the incised jadeite celt from El Sitio , Mexico was written in the hieroglyphic script (Fig. 12:2). This hieroglyphic writing represents compound syllabic Olmec characters in an ornate style, which probably evolved into the Mayan and Izapan hieroglyphic scripts. This ornate style of writing usually has two or more syllabic signs joined together as illustrated in Figure 12:2.

Transliteration of El Sitio Inscriptions Po ta tu b ta

Purity here take refuge B sacred object/solitary tu Ruler f to ta tu i

sequestered here place of rest thou/you b gb unite ta po the pure p ta purity

in the company po purity gba plant se

propriety to spread over this place ta a ta

to possess for posterity sacred object he this place ma tu

ancestor/lord rest. Translation "Purity, take refuge here. B is here. The Ruler is sequestered (he who was righteous). Here is (his) place of rest. You are in the company (of the Deity). Unite with the purest of the Pure. Plant purity and propriety to spread over this place (and) to possess for posterity. He (is ) a sacred object. This place the Lord rest". Vocabulary po, purity ta, here, this place; place of rest, rest; Partisan, supporter; propriety; to be sacred, sacred object, mystic order; tu, Ruler, King; take refuge

b, name; to be, exist; unite to, sequestered i, pronominal article, 2nd person, you, thou, thine f, in the company gb, pure, virtuous, righteous po, purity, pure, the good gba, to plant p, spacious, pin down; spread over se, v. to lead; to be in possession for posterity a, pronominal article, 3rd person, he, she, it ma, Lord, ancestor The synthetic Olmec compound signs represent a compound expression. These signs reflect a complete sentence. In the synthetic compound we have VO type sentence as opposed to the SOV type sentence associated with Olmec subordinate compound signs. Below are several examples:

B ta m "Exist in a unique state of comprehension". Or

B ta gyu

"Exist in a unique state of spiritual tranquility".

ki ku lu " Send away the personal character". or "Send away the personality to the family habitation".

Po be ta Purity exist here. or

Be ta (1) Lay low the celebrity alone (2) " " " " (3) " " " (4) " " " in a good situation " to sleep

" a sacred object

Olmec hieroglyphic signs also appear on the jaguar stucco pyramids and inside the Preclassic tombs discovered under them. The Olmec hieroglyphic signs are seen in the panels of the first temple of Cerros, Structure 5C (Schele & Freidel, 1990). There are two panels at the Cerros pyramid the Eveningstar panel and the Morningstar panel. On the top of the head of the Evening-star jaguar and the morning star jaguar stucco

mask at cerros we have the Olmec sign of lineage

bi. In Olmec bi, means 'today,

present, moment, lineage'. But the symbols on either side of the Eveningstar and morning star panel are different. Some of the earliest Mayan pyramids, like the ones at Cerros and Tikal are built over earlier pyramids which may have been built by the Olmec. One of the most interesting artifacts from the Tikal pyramid is the greenstone pectoral.

Figure 12:3 Greenstone Pectoral mask

The headband glyph

found greenstone pectoral from Tikal, and in the

Tuxtla statuette inscription is very interesting. The headband glyph includes three Olmec

signs Bi

, Ta

, Po

. As a result from right to left we read the

following signs on the headband of this dignitary from Tikal: Po Bi ta. Po ta , or "Pure lineage and Propriety. Pure Propriety".

The decipherment of the Olmec writing indicates that the common people visited the Cerros pyramid and other burial sites to offer libations, and obtain blessings from the personages buried therein. To denote the divine status of many temples the Preclassic Maya-Olmec folk left inscriptions with the Su ba Su glyph. in the following

figure, we have five examples of the Su ba Su or Tu Su ba Su sign from 1) Tuxtla statuette, 2) Cerros, 3) Rio Azul and 4) Tikal. The translation of these signs are below: 1. Su su, "Offer up Many libations". 2. Su ba Su, "Offer libations to this unique Ba.(Headdress glyph: Ga po bi ta po ga, "The habitation is pure, the lineage has propriety, (indeed) a su sign repeated.) 3. Pe Se su ba su, "Pe to realize in this house the offering of libations (for) his Ba, offer libations" 4. Se tu ni Se, "To realize this very good abode--merit be fo li, Lay low (the celebrity) cause (him to) rest (herein) indeed. Su ba su, Give libations (for) the Ba, offer the libations. 5. Yo kele nde. Pa fe yo. Su ba kele su. The vital spirit is Very much admiration the desire Ba! Give libations. Other Olmec signs at Cerros include: Tu fa ta su sign. unique indeed. great ancestor/or

pure habitation" (after this sign we see the Su ba

of this spirit. Give libations (for) this unique

This sign is made up of tu fa ta su It means in Olmec"This abode possessed by the Partisan (of the Mystic order) offer libations". This sign is related to other Olmec symbolism from sites in Mayaland including Kaminaljuyu and Izapa. The signs from these sites is formed by three signs. The sign is formed by the following signs: tu fa be It means "This abode the possession of a celebrity laid low (here). An understanding of the Olmec writing allows us to read the obituary in chamber burial 48 of Tikal, Structure 5D-33-2nd; and the Rio Azul inscription. An examination of these inscriptions will show that the glyphs on lines 1,2,3, and 8(a) agree with similar signs on the Tikal inscriptions.

Rio Azul Inscriptions

Figure 12:3 Rio Azul Inscriptions

Figure 12:4 Breakdown of Rio Azul Inscriptions into their syllabic parts.

Figure 12:5 Bilingual Mayan Olmec Inscription

In the Figure 12:5 , we illustrate how you can read Mayan inscriptions using the phonetic approach, based on interpreting the sound value based on the Olmec-Manding sign, but read in the Yucatec language.

Figure 12:6 Ahau sign from Copan and Calmalcalco

The sign ah po or ahau, is a good example of the use of Olmec symbols to write Mayan words. this sign which Schele and Freidel interpret as: is made up of three Olmec signs Tu tu and po. In Olmec these signs mean Tu tu "the ruler that rules" and Po 'pure', i.e., 'Pure ruler that rules'. In conclusion, the Olmec people had both a syllabic and hieroglyphic script. The terms in this writing are monosyllabic and each term may have multiple meanings. The Olmec terms have been interpreted using the Manding lexical items recorded by Delafosse, in La Langue Mandigue et ses dialectes. The Olmec inscriptions on portable items such as incised celts and scepters were sacred relics, containing the obituaries of great rulers, talismanic messages, or symbols of

authority. These inscriptions indicate that the Olmec or Xi people were very religious and that the tombs and graves of Xi dignitaries served both as a talisman, and shrine for the common people.

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