African Origin of Olmecs is Good Scholarship

 

 

 

 

Research is the foundation of good science, or knowing in general. There are four methods of 1) Method of tenacity (one holds firmly to the truth, because "they know it" to be true); 2) method

of authority (the method of established belief, i.e., the Bible or the "experts" says it, it is so); 3) method of intuition (the method where a proposition agrees with reason, but not necessarily with experience); and 4) the method of science (the method of attaining knowledge which calls for self-correction). To explain Africans in ancient America, I use the scientific method which calls for hypothesis testing, not only supported by experimentation, but also that of alternative plausible hypotheses that, may place doubt on the original hypothesis.

The aim of science is theory construction (F.N. Kirlinger, Foundations of behavior research, (1986) pp.6-10; R. Braithwaite, Scientific explanation, (1955) pp.1-10). A theory is a set of interrelated constructs, propositions and definitions, that provide a systematic understanding of phenomena by outlining relations among a group of variables that explain and predict phenomena.

Scientific inquiry involves issues of theory construction, control and experimentation. Scientific knowledge must rest on testing, rather than mere induction which can be defined as inferences of laws and generalizations, derived from observation. This falsity of logical possibility is evident in the rejection of the African origin of the Olmecs hypothesis. Coe, de Montellano and others reject outright the possibility that Africans built the Olmec civilization, because they observe Amerindian speakers in areas formerly occupied by the Olmec people. Just because these people may live in the Olmec heartland today, says very little about the inhabitants of this area 3000 years ago. These writers base their theories solely on observation--nonscientific knowledge is not science.

Karl Popper in The Logic of Scientific Discovery, rejects this form of logical validity based solely on inference and conjecture (pp. 33-65). Popper maintains that confirmation in science, is arrived at through falsification.

Therefore to confirm a theory in science one test the theory through regorous attempts at falsification. In falsification the researcher uses cultural, linguistic, anthropological and historical knowledge to invalidate a proposed theory. If a theory can not be falsified through yes of the variables associated with the theory it is confirmed. It can only be disconfirmed when new generalizations associated with the original theory fail to survive attempts at falsification.

In short, science centers on conjecture and refutations. Many commentators on Afrocentricism maintain that the Olmecs weren't Africans. In support of this conjecture they maintain: 1) Africans first came to America with Columbus; 2) Amerindians live in Meso-America; 3) the Olmec look like the Maya; 4) linguistic groups found in the Olmec heartland have always lived in areas they presently inhabit. These are all logical deduction, but they are mainly nonfalsifiable and therefore unscientific.

According to the Afrocentrists Columbus was not the first person from the old world to influence the people and cultures of America. Over 2600 years before Columbus stumbled on the Americas, Africans from West Africa were already establishing the first American civilization in Meso-America (van Sertima, 1976; Wiener, 1920-1922; Winters, 1981/1982).

When the Europeans came to the Americas they discovered Africans were already well established in Latin America ( Quatrefages, 1889; Rafinesque, 1836; Wiener, 1920-1922; Winters, 1984c, 1984d; Wuthenau, 1980) . On Columbus' third voyage he noted Blacks sailing in the Caribbean. Other Africans were found in the interior of the Isthmus of Panama. And Bishop Las Casas wrote about an African king residing in the same part of Panama.

A. de Quatrefages (1889), claimed that Africans formerly lived in Florida, the Caribbean, Mexico and Panama. The American linguist C.S. Rafinesque (1836) was sure that "many nations of Brazil and Guyana are more recent and of African origin" (p.9). He also discovered that an Amerind language called Yarura was an Ashante cognate.

As early as 1700 BC the first Africans settled along the Isthmus of Tehuantepe (Winters, 1981/1982, 1984c). The precursor civilization/empire in the Americas was that of the Olmecs (Morley, 1983; Pouligny, 1988; Soustelle, 1984).

The "extreme Eurocentrists" argue that Blacks could not have been in the Americas in ancient times (D'Souza, 1995; de Montellano, 1995). To support this view these researchers point out that most Americanists do not support an African presence in ancient America, and that van Sertima misidentified the ancestors of the Olmecs (de Montellano, 1995, 139). To explain away the African features of the Olmecs, D'Souza (1995) maintains that:

[T]he Olmecs did not have a selection of skin tones

to chose from in making their monuments. The only stone available to them was black stone. The source of the stone is the Tuxtlas mountains of volcanic origin (p.374).

He continues, "The mounments get darker by thousands of years of exposure to the elements" (D'Souza, 1995, 374)

This explaination by D'Souza (1995) for the large Olmec heads depicticting Africans does not hold up under close observation. First of all, the Olmecs used various metals to depict Afro-Olmecs, besides "black stone", including Jade ( von Wuthenau, 1980). This makes the comments of D'Souza false.

A more serious attack on the African origin of the Olmecs has been mounted by de Montellano (1995, 139) who argues that the Olmecs could not have been Nubians or Kushites of the Napata-Meroe civilization, as claimed by van Sertima (1976) because the Olmec civilization preceed the civilization of the Kushites by hundreds of years.

This argument is well founded. It highlights the failure of van Sertima (1976) to critically read the sources of Africans in ancient America and study the archaeology of West Africa and the Sahara. A cursory reading of Wiener (1922) would have made it clear that the founders of the Olmec civilization were Mande/Manding speaking people.

Wiener (1922) based his identification of the Olmecs (eventhough he was unaware of this people at the time) through his identification of Manding writing on the Tuxtla statuette which was created by the Olmecs. Moreover, Wiener (1920-22) provided numerous examples of Manding substratum in Amerindian languages that should have been evaluated by van Sertima (1976) since he claims to be a linguist. It was the cognition between the Olmec and Manding writings that allowed Winters (1979) to decipher the Olmec writing.

Granted, van Sertima (1976) was wrong about the identity of the Olmecs , but he was correct in claiming that the Olmecs were of African origin. But there is no denying the fact that Africans early settled the Americas (Sitchin, 1990; Wiener, 1920-1922; von Wuthenau, 1980).

The Olmecs were accomplished artists, engineers and scientists. They invented Americas first cities, the calendar and writing systems (Soustelle, 1984). This writing system was passed on to the Maya and other people of Mexico (Morley, Brainered & Sharer, 1983; Soustelle, 1984).

The Olmecs were the precursor civilization of Meso-America. Jacques Soustelle (1984) called the Olmecs the Sumerians of the New World, due to their great contribution to American civilization. He wrote that "The Olmec heritage was perpetuated in the minds and in the art of the indigenous peoples down to the fall of Tenochlitlan, and still survives in part among the Indians, whose present is profoundly steeped in the past" (Soustelle, 1984, 194).

The Olmec civilization is typified by the huge heads with African features found on many Olmec sites in the Gulf region (van Sertima, 1976; Winters, 1981/1982). The first Olmec head was found at Hueyapan, in the region of San Andres, Tutla ,Veracruz

(Pouligny, 1988).

The name Olmec for this early culture is taken from the term Olman, which was given to the coastal area of the Gulf of Mexico where the artifacts of this culture were found and Olmeca

the name of the inhabitants of this region. The original or native name for this people was Xi (Shi), the plural form was Xiu (Shi-u).

The Olmec people spoke a Manding language (Winters, 1979; Wuthenau, 1980). The Manding people lived in ancient the Sahara (Winters, 1986), until they migrated to Mexico and founded the Olmec empire (Winters, 1979).

The Olmec civilization was developed along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico in the states of Tabasco and Veracruz (Morley, Brainerd & Sharer, 1983, 52; Pouligny, 1988, 34). The linguistic evidence suggest that around 1200 BC a new linguistic group arrived on the Gulf region of Mexico. This non-Maya speaking group wedged itself between the Huastecs and the Maya (Swadesh, 1953). Scholars believe that the Olmecs were these new settlers of Mexico (Soustelle, 1984). Soustelle (1984) 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" (p.29).

Stela no.5 from Izapa (see figure 1), is an important historical document from Mexico. This monument has interesting iconographic representations that prove some of the migration traditions handed down from generation to generation by the Mexicans.

The Izapa style art is characterized by upright stone stela found at the site of Izapa, situated near Tapachula, Chiapas. Izapa is located on the Pacific coastal plain in an area known as Soconusco. This area in middle Preclassic times was a center of Olmec civilization (Morley, Brainerd & Sharer, 1983).

The research of the New World Archaeological Foundation indicate that this site has been continuously occupied since 1500 B.C. (Norman, 1973). Much of what we know about the art from Izapa comes from the work of Virginia Smith' Izapa Relief Carving , Garth Norman's Izapa Sculpture and Jacinto Quirarte's Izapan-Style Art .

V. Garth Norman (1973) of the New World Archaeological Foundation has published many of the stone stalae and altars found at Izapa and discussed much of their probable religious significance. Most researchers including Norman (1973) believe that the Izapans were "Olmecoid". Smith (1984) disagrees with this hypothesis, but Michael D. Coe (1965:773-774, 1968:121), and Ignacio Bernal (1969:172) support an Olmec origin for the Izapan style art. Quirarte recognized obvious Olmec cultural traits in the Izapa iconography (Quirarte, 1973, 32-33).

The Stela no.5 from Izapa records many glyphic elements common to other Preclassic artifacts including the jaguar, falling water, mountain, bird, dragon tree, serpent and fish motifs (Smith, 1984, 28-29). The pictures on this stelae indicate that the Izapans were related to the Olmec or Xiu people.

This stela also provides many elements that relate to Mexican and Maya traditions as accurately analyzed by Norman (1973). Some ideological factors not fully discussed by Norman (1973) in regards to this stelae is its evidence of elements of the Olmec religion, and the migration traditions of the Mexicans.

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 (Soustelle, 1984).

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 the Olmec brought civilization to the region.

Traditions mentioned by Sahagun, record the settlement of Mayaland by a different race from the present Amerindian population. Sahagun (1946) 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.

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 the 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 that anthropologist see "distinct signs of Negroid ancestry in many a New World skull...."

This new race come from Africa. Sertima in They Came Before Columbus, and Weiner in Africa and the Discovery of America believed 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. 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) .

Many Olmec skulls show cranial deformations (Pailles, 1980). 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. Fronto-occipital deformation among the Olmec is not surprising because cranial deformations was common among the Mande speaking people until fairly recently (Desplanges, 1906).

Friar Diego de Landa , 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" (de Landa, 1978, 8, 28).

This tradition is most interesting because it 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 (see figure 1). In Stela 5, from Izapa we see a group of men on a boat riding the waves and a large tree in the middle of the stela (Norman, 1976).

It is clear that Stelae No.5, from Izapa not only indicates the tree of life, it also confirms the tradition recorded by Friar Diego de Landa (1978) 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 .

In the center of the boat on Stelae 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 de Landa (1978, 8, 28).

The migration traditions and Stelae 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 landing in Panotha would correspond to the non-Maya speaking group detected by Swadesh (1953) that separated the Maya and Huasteca speakers over 2000 years ago.

Bernardino de Sahagun (1946) a famous authority on Mexico also supports the extra-American origin of the Olmecs 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".

Sahagun (1946) claimed that the Olmec were not native to the Gulf coats region where archaeologist discovered the Olmec civilization. He called these people that civilized the Mexicans: Olmecs. Chimalpahin the chronicler of Chalco Amaquemecan , commenting on the Olmecs wrote that "And the truth is that those who for the first time came to settle, who made merits for the land were great men, very experienced, they were learned men, they were skilled at everything. And because they were skilled learned men, everything they did they always affirmed it" (Portilla, n.d., 193).

Traditions mentioned by Sahagun, record the settlement of Mexico by a different race from the present Amerindian population, these foreign people he called Olmecs. Sahagun said

"Here is the account that the elders used to pronounce

:at a time which no one can speak of any more, that

today no one can remember, those who came here to sow the grandfathers, the grandmothers, these, it is said , arrived, came, followed the road, those that came to

sweep it...came to rule here in this land....They came in many groups in their boats on the and there arrived at the edge of the water, on the northern coast, and there where their boats remained is called Panutla, which means

where one passes over the water, today is called Pantla

(Panuco). Subsequently they followed the shoreline, they

went in search of the mountains...." (Portilla, n.d.,

184-185).

Not only did these ancient settlers of the Olmec heartland settle in Mexico, they also helped spread civilization. Sahagun wrote that:

"So they [Olmecs] invented the reckoning of the destinies,

the annals, and the reckoning of the years, the book of dreams, they put it in the order in which it has been kept...."(Portilla, n.d., 186).

These passages from Sahagun makes it clear that the Olmec people came to Mexico by sea in boats.

It would appear that there was not a single settlement of migrants from across the sea because ,Sahagun claims that "they came in many groups". This may be a possible allusion to the twelve migrations mentioned by de Landa (1978), and recorded on Stelae No.5. It also agrees with the migration story mentioned in the Popol Vuh.

 

THE STELAE NUMBER 5 AND OLMEC RELIGION

 

The Olmec people had their own writing. This writing system was deciphered by Winters (Winters, 1979, 80; Wuthenau, 1980, Appendix B). This decipherment of the Olmec writing allows us to discover much about the Olmec people and their culture.

We know that the Olmec invited the writing system which was later used by the Maya because the Mayan name for writing is of Manding/Olmec writing. Kaufman (1976) has suggested that *c'ib' or *c'ihb' is part of the proto-Mayan lexicon for write. Brown (1991, 491-492) argues that *c'ib' may be the ancient Mayan term for writing, but it can not be Proto-Mayan because writing did not appear among the Maya until 600 B.C. This was 1500 years before the break up of Proto-Mayan. The Manding term for writing is *sb. This term corresponds to the Mayan term *c'ib' and probably was the ancestral name for writing in ancient America introduced by the Olmec people.

Brown's (1991) view that the writing did not exist among the Maya is supported by Mayan tradition that they got writing from the "Tutul Xiu" who lived in Zuiva. As mentioned earlier the name Xiu is the name of the Manding speaking people.

Kaufman (1976) has suggested that The Olmecs had two different religious associations (ga-fa):the jaguar-man or humano-feline cult (see figure 2) and the humano-bird cult (see figure 3). The humano-feline cult was called the nama-tigi by the Olmecs, while the humano-feline cult was called the kuno-tigi.

The leader of the Olmec cult was called the tigi or amatigi "head of the faith". The Tigi of the Xiu or Olmec secret societies and cults exerted considerable influence over both the when he was dead and alive. Alive the Tigi could contact the spirits of the deceased, and serve as intermediary between the gods and mankind. Upon his death his grave became a talisman bestowing good to all who visited his tomb.

Sertima (1976) and Wiener (Wiener, 1920-1922) have both commented on the possible relationship between the amanteca of ancient Mexico and the amantigi of Africa and the Olmecs. It is interesting to note that according to Dr. Wiener tec / tecqui means "master, chief" in a number of Mexican languages including Nahuatl .

Many Meso-Americanists have suggested that the Maya inherited many aspects of their civilization, especially religion from the Olmec. This is interesting because in the Maya Book of Chumayel, the three main cult associations which are suppose to have existed in ancient times were (1) the stone (cutters) cult, (2) the jaguar cult and (3) the bird cult. In lines 4-6 of the Book of Chumayel , we read : "Those with their sign in the bird, those with their sign in the stone, flat worked stone, those with their sign in the Jaguar-three emblems".

The Book of Chumayel, corresponds to the gylphs depicted on Monument 13 at La Venta (Bernal, 1969). On Monument 13, at La Venta a personages in profile, has a headdress on his head and wears a breechcloth, jewels and sandals, along with four glyphs listed one above the other. The glyphs included the stone, the jaguar, and the bird emblems.

Monument 13, at La Venta also has a fourth sign to the left of the personage a foot gylphs. This monument has been described as an altar or a low column (Bernal, 1969).

The foot in Olmec is called se, this symbol means to "lead or advance toward knowledge, or success". The se (foot) sign of the komow (cults) represents the beginning of the Olmec initiates pursuit of knowledge.

The meaning of Monument 13, reading from top to bottom, are a circle kulu/ kaba (the stone), nama (jaguar) and the kuno (bird). The interpretation of this column reading from left to right is "The advance toward success--power--for the initiate is obedience to the stone cutters cult, jaguar cult and the bird cult".

The Jaguar mask association dominated the Olmec Gulf region. In the central and southern Olmec regions we find the bird mask association (cult) predominate as typified by the Xoc bas relief of Chiapas, and the Bas Relief No.2, of Chalcatzingo. Another bird mask cult association was located in the state of Guerrero as evidenced by the humano-bird figure of the Stelae from San Miguel Amuco.

The iconographic representation of the Olmec priest-kings, found at Chalchapa, La Venta, Xoc and Chalcatzingo indicate that usually the Olmec priest wore a wide belt and girdle. He was usually clean shaven, with an elongated bold head often topped by a round helmet or elaborate composite mask. During religious ceremonies the Olmec religious leader, depending on his cult would wear the sacred jaguar or sacred bird mask. Often as illustrated by the glyphs on the shoulders and knees of the babe-in-arms figurine of Las Limas element the mask would include a combination of the associated with the bird, jaguar and serpent.

The cult leaders of the bird mask cult usually wore claws on their feet. The jaguar cult leaders usually wore the jaguar mask. Stelae No.5 also discusses in detail the two major Olmec religions: the nama (jaguar) komo (cult) and the kuno (bird) komo. At the top of Stelae No.5 , we recognize two lines of Olmec writing across the top of the artifact. On the first line we read from right to left :I ba i. Lu tu lu. I ba i, which means "Thou art powerful Now! Hold Upright (those) obedient to the[ir] Order. Thou art Powerful Now!" On the second line we read the following: I lu be. I lu , which means "Thou hold upright Unity. Thou hold [it] upright".

The religious orders spoken of in this stela are the Bird and Jaguar cults. These Olmec cults were Nama or the Humano-Jaguar cult; and Kuno or Bird cult. The leader of the Nama cult was called the Nama-tigi (Nama chief) , or Amatigi (head of the faith). The leader of the Kuno cult was the Kuno-tigi (Kuno chief). These cult leaders initiated the Olmec into the mysteries of the cult.

On the Stelae No. 5, we see both the Kuno-tigi (fig.2) and Nama-tigi (fig.3) instructing youth in the mysteries of their respective cults.

On Stelae No.5, we see two priests and members of each cult society sitting in a boat with a tree in the center (Sitchin, 1990, 178). On the right hand side of the boat we see the Nama-tigi, and on the left hand side we see the Kuno-tigi.

The personage on the right side of the boat under a ceremonial umbrella is the Nama-tigi. In Mexico, this umbrella was a symbol of princely status. Above his head is a jaguar glyph which, according to Dr. Alexander von Wuthenau (1980) indicates that he was an Olmec. This personage has an African style hairdo and a writing stylus in his left hand. This indicates the knowledge of writing among the Olmecs which is also evident in the other Olmec inscriptions deciphered by Winters .

On the sides of the boat we see two Olmec signs : they read: "In the company of Purity". This statement signifies that the Olmec believed that worship of the Kuno or Nama cults led to spiritual purity among the believers.

On the left hand side of the boat we see a number of birds. Here we also find a priest wearing a conical hat instructing another youth, in the mysteries of the Kuno cult around a flame. Among the Olmecs this flame signified the luminous character of knowledge.

The Kuno priest wears a conical hat. The evidence of the conical hat on the Kuno priest is important evidence of the Manding in ancient America. The conical hat in Meso-America is associated with Amerindian priesthood and as a symbol of political and religious authority . Leo Wiener wrote that:

"That the kingly and priestly cap of the Magi

should have been preserved in America in the iden

-tical form, with the identical decoration, and

should, besides, have kept the name current for it

among the Mandingo [Malinke-Bambara/Manding] people

, makes it impossible to admit any other solution

than the one that the Mandingoes established the

royal offices in Mexico" (author's emphasis)

(Wiener, Vol.2 1922, 321).

Stelae no.21 , from Izapa also record the decline of the Olmec nama and kuno religions and probable raise of the Maya speakers and the sa (serpent) cult which called for human sacrifice (Smith, 1984; Norman, 1973). On Stelae no.21, we see a decapitated individual lieing on the ground. An elite carries the decapitated head. This elite may be an early Maya personage because he wears a new style headdress which resembles the Maya style headdresses and not the style of the Olmecs.

In the background we see an elite personage being borne in an elaborate sedan chair. Above this chair we see the serpent . This depiction of a serpent as a background but dominate figure in Olmec religion/rule corresponds to Monument 19 of La Venta. On Monument 19, from La Venta we see an Olmec personage which has a serpent behind his back and above his head (Bernal, 1969). This serpent indicates hidden knowledge or powers from the serpent that the cult leader used to lead the followers of their cult.

The 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.

After 100 BC the Olmecs went into a period of decline. They did not disappear from Mexican history. They were frequently depicted in Mayan text as gods and merchants, especially the Maya god Ek Chuah (Winters 1981/1982,1984a,1984b,1984c). The African god Quetzacoatl was worshipped by the Aztecs (Wiener, 1922; Winters, 1981/1982).

 

African Influence on Amerindian Languages

 

The Mande/Manding speaking Olmecs had a great influence on the cultural and linguistic realities of the Americas. As a result we find that many Amerindian languages show affinity to the Manding languages.

The Taino and Manding languages share many points of phonology and morphology. Taino was spoken in the Caribbean when Europeans first arrived in the New World. Taino is presently extinct.

Taino and Manding are agglutinative languages. The joining of two or more words is commonly used to form new words. For example, Manding words are formed by adding an affix to a radical e.g., ji 'water': ji-ma 'watery and ba 'finish': to-ba 'to complete'/'to achieve'. In Taino, we have a 'water': a-ma

'great water'; and ca 'soil': ca-za-bi 'bread'.

The Taino and Manding languages share lexical items from the basic vocabulary e.g., mother Manding (M.) bi, Taino (T.) ba;

dwelling: M. bo, T. ba; ocean: M. ba, T. bali; son: M. le, T. el;

and god: M. jo(/gyo), T. io. Taino and Manding have similar syntax e.g., Taino teitoca 'thou be quiet'; and Manding i-te-to-

ka 'thou be at ease'.

The Otomi people of Mexico are often believed to have been of African origin (Quatrefages, 1889). This is proven by a comparison of the Manding and Olmec languages. The Mezquital Otomi pronominal system shows some analogy to that of Manding, but Neve y Molina's Otomi pronouns show full agreement e.g., Otomi ma/i,e,/a, and Manding n',m' /i,e /a. They also share many cognates from the basic vocabulary including son/daughter: Otomi (O.) t?i or ti, Manding (M.) de/di; eyes: O. da, M. do ; brother: ku, M. koro ; sister: O. nkhu, M. ben-k ; lip: O. sine, M. sine; mouth O. ne, M. ne; and man: O. ta/ye, M. tye/kye.

The Otomi and Manding languages also have similar syntax, e.g., Otomi ho ka ra 'ngu 'he makes the houses', Manding

a k nu 'he makes the family habitation (houses)'.

There are many Maya and Manding cognates, e.g., Maya (My.)

naal 'parent ,mother', Manding (M.) na id.; father: My. ba,

M. pa; lord: My. ba, M. ba; maize: My. kan, M. ka.

It is interesting to note that in the Amerind languages

are characterized by first person /n/, and second person /m/.

But in the case of the Otomi and Maya languages we find first person /n/, second e/i , third person /a/, the same pronoun pattern found in the Manding group.

 

In summary , we tested four variables relating to the African origin of the Olmecs : : 1) Africans first came to America with Columbus; 2) Amerindians live in Meso-America; 3) the Olmec look like the Maya; 4) linguistic groups found in the Olmec heartland have always lived in areas they presently inhabit. Granted, we do recognize that Zoquean/Soquean and Maya speakers in Olmecland today. But the linguistic evidence of Swadesh indicate that they were not in this area 3000 years ago when a new linguistic group appears to have entered the area.

Secondly, any comparison of Mayans depicted in Mayan art, and the Olmec people depicted in Olmec art especially the giant heads, indicate that these people did not look alike (see http://geocities.com/Athens/Academy/8919/heads.htm). Moreover, just because Africans may have come to America with Columbus, does not prove that they were not here before Columbus. Yet, subscription to these theories is logical, but logical assurance alone, is not good science.

Logically we could say that because Amerindians live in the Olmec heartland today, they may have lived in these areas 3000 years ago. But,the evidence found by Swadesh, an expert on the Mayan languages, of a new linguistic group invading the Olmec heartland 3000 years ago; and the lack of congruence between Olmec and Mayan art completely falsifies the conjectures of the Amerindian origin of the Olmec theorists. The opposite theory, an African origin for the Olmecs is confirmed.

I have presented here and on my numerous WebPages a theory for the African origin of the Olmec people ( http://homepages.luc.edu/~cwinter ; and http://geocities.com/Athens/Academy/8919 ). Within the various WebPages I have enumerated the following variables: 1) African scripts found during archaeological excavation; 2) the Malinke-Bambara origin of the Mayan term for writing; 3) cognate iconographic representations of African and Olmec personages; 4) the influence of Malinke-Bambara cultural and linguistic features on historic Meso-American populations; and 5) the presence of African skeletal material excavated from Olmec graves in addition to many other variables. The relation between these five variables, or a combination of these variables explains the African origin of the Olmecs.

For example, the linguistic evidence of Swadesh indicates that the Huastec and Mayan speakers were separated around 1200 BC by a new linguistic group. This implies that if my hypothesis for African settlers of Mexico wedged in between this group 3000 years ago, we can predict that linguistic evidence would exist in these languages to support this phenomena among contemporary Meso-American languages.

To test this hypothesis, above I compared lexical items from the Malinke-Bambara languages, and Mayan , Otomi and Taino languages (see : http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Academy/8919/yquiche.htm).

This comparison confirmed cognition between these languages, and suggests a former period of bilingualism among speakers of these languages in ancient times.

In other words, in the case of the linguistic and skeletal variables alone, the proposition of my African origin theory, matches the observed natural phenomena. The predicting power of this theory, confirmed by cognate lexical items in Malinke-Bambara, the Mayan, Otomi and Taino languages, and the discovery of African skeletal material during controlled archaeological excavation indicates that the African origin of the Olmec theory is confirmed. Moreover, the ability to reliably predict a linguistic relationship between Malinke-Bambara and MesoAmerican languages, is confirmation of the theory, because the linguistic connections were deducible from prediction.

We controlled this theory by comparing Malinke-Bambara and Meso-American terms. This theory was first identified by Leo Wiener who noted the presence of many Malinke-Bambara terms in the cultural, especially religious lexicon of the Aztec and Maya speakers. Since we have predicted reliably this variable of the African origin of the Olmec theory, this variable must be disconfirmed, to "defeat" my hypothesis. Failure to disconfirm this theorem, implies validity of the prediction.

In this introduction I have discussed the major evidence or variables of the African origin of the Olmec theory, to demonstrate the difference between science and conjecture. My ability to predict successfully, a linguistic relationship between Malinke-Bambara and MesoAmerican languages, makes it unnecessary to search for a different underlying explanation for the Olmec heads, which look like Africans, because Africans were the models for these heads. Moreover, the fact that the Taino words , were collected when the early Explorers arrived in America, long before any African slaves were deposited on these shores make it clear that any cognition between Taino and Mande terms have to pre-date the coming of Columbus.

This confirmation of variables in the African origin of Olmec theory indicates the systematic controlled , critical and empirical investigation of the question of African origins of the Olmec. This is validation of the Malinke-Bambara theory first proposed by Leo Wiener, in Africa and the Discovery of America, which presumed relations among the Olmec and Black Africans.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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