Oldest Writing in the New World

  title={Oldest Writing in the New World},
  author={Ma. del Carmen Rodríguez Martínez and Ponciano Ortíz Ceballos and Michael D. Coe and Richard A. Diehl and Stephen Houston and Karl A. Taube and Alfredo Delgado Calderón},
  pages={1610 - 1614}
A block with a hitherto unknown system of writing has been found in the Olmec heartland of Veracruz, Mexico. Stylistic and other dating of the block places it in the early first millennium before the common era, the oldest writing in the New World, with features that firmly assign this pivotal development to the Olmec civilization of Mesoamerica. 

Written in stone

A previously unknown form of writing — and the oldest piece of text ever discovered in the Americas — has been unearthed in southern Mexico. Kerri Smith tries to decipher the questions posed by

The Cascajal Block: The Earliest Precolumbian Writing

2006 The Cascajal Block: The Earliest Precolumbian Writing. Mesoweb: www.mesoweb.com/reports/Cascajal.pdf. On September 15, 2006, it was reported in the journal Science that a stone block inscribed

Diphrastic Kennings on the Cascajal Block and the Emergence of Mesoamerican Writing

This article examines a potential ‘throne–mat’ kenning in the Middle Formative period Olmec writing on the Cascajal Block, an incised serpentine slab dated to c. 900 bc . It is suggested that signs

An early Maya calendar record from San Bartolo, Guatemala

Here, we present evidence for the earliest known calendar notation from the Maya region, found among fragments of painted murals excavated at San Bartolo, Guatemala. On the basis of their sealed

Time and landscape at the beginning of Chinese writing

  • K. Chen
  • Biology
    Journal of Chinese Linguistics
  • 2020
It is estimated that Chinese writing should have occurred around or before 2100BCE, consistent with three lines of archaeological findings.

Sculpture and Social Dynamics in Preclassic Mesoamerica

This book examines the functions of sculpture during the Preclassic period in Mesoamerica and its significance in statements of social identity. Julia Guernsey situates the origins and evolution of


Abstract The earliest uses of Olmec greenstone (jadeite, greenstone, schist, green quartz, and others) accelerated the interregional exchange of technology and raw materials. These relationships

Dating the Origin of Chinese Writing: Evidence from Oracle Bone Inscriptions

The convergence of a visual sign containing semantic value with an audio symbol signifies the creation of writing. Writing was independently created at least four times in human history, hence,

The Flesh of God: Cosmology, Food, and the Origins of Political Power in Ancient Southeastern Mesoamerica

I come today as a pilgrim from the east, from Maya lowland country, sister and daughter civilization, to the heartland of the first civilization in our American part of the world: Olman, Olmec

The past that does not let go… a few words about cultural studies of Maya

Ab s t r a c t The research is of great interest due to the overall situation in the history of the an-cient American civilizations, to the growing interest in religion, mythology, and the worldview



Olmec Origins of Mesoamerican Writing

These artifacts reveal that the key aspects of the Mesoamerican scripts were present in Olmec writing: the combination of pictographic and glyphic elements to represent speech; the use of the sacred 260-day calendar; and the connection between writing, the calendar, and kingship.

Early Maya Writing at San Bartolo, Guatemala

The ruins of San Bartolo, Guatemala, contain a sample of Maya hieroglyphic writing dating to the Late Preclassic period, which implies that a developed Maya writing system was in use centuries earlier than previously thought, approximating a time when the earliest scripts elsewhere in Mesoamerica.

Olmec art and archaeology in Mesoamerica

This handsome volume presents the creations of Mesoamerica's most ancient societies in their archaeological contexts. The Olmec, who are best known for a unique style of monumental stone head and

Last Writing: Script Obsolescence in Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Mesoamerica

By any measure, the creation and development of writing was a cybernetic advance with far-reaching consequences. It allowed writers to communicate with readers who were distant in time and space,

The Olmec World: Ritual and Rulership

Between 1400 and 400 BC, in what is now Mexico and Central America, the Olmec people created a magnificent culture, one too often overshadowed by those of the Maya and the Aztec. This catalogue

A scattering of jades : stories, poems, and prayers of the Aztecs

Long before Europeans came to America, the Aztecs created a unique culture based on myth and a love of language. Myths and poems were an important part of their culture, and a successful speech by a

The Olmecs: America's First Civilization

The Olmecs of southern Mexico were America's oldest civilization and Mesoamerica's 'Mother Culture'. Long famous for their Colossal Heads carved from giant boulders, the Olmecs have fascinated the

Breaking the Maya Code

This is the story of how the Mayan glyphs found in the ancient ruins of Copan and other Mayan sites have been deciphered within the last 20 years. Michael Coe worked with all the leading players in

Joralemon, A Study of Olmec Iconography (Dumbarton

  • 1971