The timeframes provided for the various cultures (Hongshan vs Shan for example) are not exact, but only indicative-
Yes, the Olmec graphics may not be a language, as we would call a language today, but surely the symbolic patterns have semiotic importance
Are the designs, the patterns on Olmec findings matching the design, patterns of neolithic finds in China? Yes -
There is evidence that thousands of years ago there were striking similarities between megalithic cultures across the continents
So yes, there is evidence of cross cultural communication between ancient mesoamerica and neolithic finds in Asia. You can acknowledge or ignore such evidence, and that shows what kind of scientist you are :-)
I think you will find the following of interest....
Some asked me to post my observations re: the script on the Olmec celts
identified by Chen, Hanping as Chinese in US News & World Report Nov. 4,
46-8. I have finally seen the article with the reproduction of the Olmec
grapsh and the section that Chen believed was similar to the oracle bone
script of the Shang.
1. the graphs isolated by Chen are not Chinese. They bear some
graphic similarity to some archaic Chinese graphs or parts of graphs but as
single graphs equal nothing and do not have the equivalents he assigned to
them. It is bogus.
2. obviously, the graphs/glyphs pulled out by Chen should be
considered within the context of the entire "inscription." This is
impossible as the rest of the marks bear none but a few isolated
similarities. In fact, the Olmec "script" may not represent language at
all, but like the Naxi and other ur-scripts, be more a code for
than an actual transcription of language. The Shang oracle bone script, on
the other hand, is very advanced and unquestionably qualifies as belonging
to a writing system.
3. finally, the "inscription" must be considered within the context
of the sculptures. there is very little beyond an occasional face of human
representation in Shang period art (some carved jade figures, but these are
kneeling, often incised, and covered with animal decor, tatoos, clothes,
etc.). One famous bronze has a shaman like figure in the mouth of an
but there is no similarity to the Olmec representations. The only set of
free standing statues I know about belong to the neolithic Hongshan culture
discovered in the northern borderlands of present day China...separated
the Shang by thousands of years and from the Shang "homeland" by hundreds
miles (and certainly not "Chinese"). These naked sculptures are female,
some pregnant, and do not have the tall malformed cranium. They were found
in a temple/mortuary complex. There was no evidence of any script. (for
articles in English see works by Elizabeth Childs-Johnson or Tong,
4. a point of correction: the US News & WR article claims that
is the foremost authority of only about 12 scholars worldwide who are
trained in ancient script (podunck Lehigh Univ. has two!). First, Chen is
very minor scholar. Second, there are more than 12 scholars in the US alone
who can read Shang script, many many more in China and elsewhere. There is
Qi, Wenxin. If you are at UBC, talk to Ken Takashima in Asian Studies.
off to class,
C. Cook, Assoc. Prof. of
Subject: Re: Shang script among Olmecs
Date: Sun, 10 Nov 1996 14:03:03
Organization: University of Michigan
X-Newsreader: Trumpet for Windows [Version 1.0 Rev A]
Xref: news1.epix.net sci.archaeology.mesoamerican:4355
I won't get too excited just yet. There have been others who have
that they too can "read" Olmec inscriptions. However, some of these
claimed they can read them because they are written in an *African*
So the Olmec were borrowing their writing from not only the Chinese
the Africans as well. How interesting....
Actually, there has been some serious work on this
writing system, which is the earliest deciphered writing system in
Mesoamerica, if I understand things correctly. Since the script
syllabic as well as logographic values, and can be demonstrably shown
represent "pre-proto-Zoquean", that is a stage of an ancestor to
still spoken in the area today, I wonder how anyone could read them in
language, especially Chinese, which, unless I am mistaken, is hardly
to any Mesoamerican language. A short report on the decipherment can
conveniently found in John B. Justeson and Terrence Kaufman, "A
of Epi-Olmec Hieroglyphic Writing," Science 259 (1993) 1703ff. One
wonders why anyone bothers with serious research, when even articles on
Science are not read, but all sorts of sensationalist nonsense brings
myriads of comments!
Of course, "written language" containing syllabic and logographic values
be interpreted by speakers of many languages if familiar with logographic
values. The amount of content understood would be in inverse proportion
amount of syllabic information contained in the document. Ideograms are
accurately to this day by people speaking widely diverse languages.
So, was Shang at time of Olmec writings primarily logographic? Is there a
significant number of matches between the two? Do we really need someone
fluent in Shang to look at these matches? Pictographic evolution is
for Asian writings...Olmec should reveal close matches of same...Is Dr.
available for lectures? ;0
Serious research becomes part of a body of knowledge and is available to
few who can and will pursue its meanings...the comradeship of researchers
a smaller circle than that of people who read Discover/Omni/chariots of
dogs and these huge numbers of people have access to newsgroups...you can
exchange information in a newsgroup, but you can't find validity and
respect...that comes from your peers who see your postings or read your
publications and ultimately validity and respect come from your interior.
Although I am not a scholar or any sort, I feel I see more
of info going from the serious to the dilettante than from d. to d. (if
weed out all that repetition) or d. to s., and I thank the s. for that.