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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
An Olmec origin for many pre-Classic Maya, 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,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.
the Olmec spoke an aspect of the Manding languages spoken in West Africa, not Mixe- Zoquean as suggested by Terrence Kaufman. The African origin of the Olmec was based on the research of C.S. Rafinesque and Leo Wiener.
In 1832, Rafinesque published the 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 (which can not be read in either Berber or Taurag, people who use an alphabetic script similar to the
Libyco-Berber script which is syllabic CV and CVC in structure).
The Libyco-Berber signs 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 areas 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 Malinke-Bambara (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. 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.
LaVenta Celt. The Priest Pe is
surrounded by other members of the cult.
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. A. M. Tozzer (ed.), Relacion de las Casa de Yucatan (Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology ,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.
The Olmec script is a logosyllabic
script. The Olmec had both a syllabic and hieroglyphic script. The hieroglyphic signs were
simply Olmec syllabic signs used to make pictures.
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