SECOND READING FOR ANCIENT LANGUAGE

SECOND READING FOR ANCIENT LANGUAGE

WASHINGTON, JULY 10 – THE RESEARCHERS WHO CRACKED THE CODE ON THE OLDEST LANGUAGE YET DECIPHERED IN THE AMERICAS SAY THEY HAVE CONFIRMED THEIR WORK BY READING A SECOND SAMPLE.
ANTHROPOLOGIST JOHN JUSTESON SAY PEOPLE IN WHAT IS TODAY MEXICO USED THE LANGUAGE, CALLED EPI-OLMEC, FROM AROUND 300 B.C. TO AT LEAST 538 A.D. THEY LIVED AFTER THE OLMEC CIVILIZATION WANED BUT BEFORE THE MAYA BLOOMED.
SCHOLARS KNOW OF ONLY FOUR SURVIVING LEGIBLE SAMPLES OF EPI-OLMEC.
FRAGMENTS SURVIVE OF EARLIER ZAPOTEC WRITING AND WHAT MAY BE OLMEC, BUT JUSTESON SAYS MODERN SCHOLARS CANNOT READ THEM.
JUSTESON, FROM THE STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK AT ALBANY, AND TERRENCE KAUFMAN FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH SAY THEY HAVE DECIPHERED PART OF THE LONGEST SAMPLE. THEIR STUDY OF A STONE MONUMENT FROM SOUTHERN VERACRUZ APPEARS TODAY IN THE JOURNAL SCIENCE.
THE MONUMENT, OR STELA, WAS DRAGGED FROM THE ACULA RIVER NEAR THE VILLAGE OF LA MOJARRA AND SENT TO AN ANTHROPOLOGY MUSEUM IN XALAPA IN 1986. IN 1987, RESEARCHERS REPORTED SOME 500 SYMBOLS OF AN UNREADABLE TEXT BESIDE A PORTRAIT CARVED ON THE
MONUMENT.
THIRTY YEARS BEFORE, KAUFMAN HAD DECIDED WHAT THE LANGUAGE OUGHT TO SOUND LIKE BY WORKING BACKWARDS FROM LANGUAGES THAT DESCENDED FROM IT. HE AND JUSTESON APPLIED HIS THEORIES TO THE MONUMENT TEXT, LOOKING FOR ADDITIONAL CLUES IN REFERENCES TO DATES AND ASTRONOMY. THE METHOD REVEALED AN ACCOUNT OF THE GREAT DOINGS OF A WARRIOR-KING CALLED HARVEST MOUNTAIN LORD.
THEN IN 1995, AN ARCHAEOLOGIST NOTICED YET ANOTHER COLUMN OF TEXT ON THE MONUMENT. THE TWO TRANSLATORS USED IT AS A TEST OF THEIR READING ABILITY.
10-07-97

Lascia un commento

0:00
0:00