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  • solomon abdul-Rahman
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 1, 2004

      AGO!!! Posted 9-13-2003 00:11

      The Nubians and Olmecs


      Clyde Winters



      Haslip-Viera, Ortiz de Montellano and Barbour (1997) have argued that
      Olmec civilization was not influenced by Africans and therefore
      Afrocentrism should have no standing in higher education, but in fact
      it can be illustrated that the facial types as sociated with the
      Olmec people and Meroitic people are identical; and that Olmec
      figurines such as the Tuxtla statuette excavation are inscribed with
      African writing used by the Mande people of West Africa (Wiener,
      1922; Winters, 1979 , of Manding writing provide the "absolute
      proof " recovered by archaeologists from "controlled excavations in
      the New World" demanded by Haslip-Viera, Ortiz de Montellano and
      Barbour (1997: 419) to "proof"/confirm Olmec and African contact.

      The failure of Haslip- Viera, Ortiz de Montellano and Barbour (1997)
      to realize an African presence in PreColumbian America, is the result
      of their ignorance of the normal science of ancient Afrocentric
      studies (Winters, 1996). Haslip-Viera, Ortiz d e Montellano and
      Barbour (1997: 419) assume that ancient Afrocentric research is the
      result of the "cultural nationalism of the 1960's and 1970's. This
      view is false. The ancient Afrocentric studies research tradition was
      developed before the 1960's (Wint ers, 1994, 1996). The ancient
      Afrocentric studies research tradition reflects almost two hundred
      years of original research in the area of ancient Afrocentric studies
      ( Winters, 1994, 1996). Contrary to the views of Haslip-Viera, Ortiz
      de Montellano and Barbour (1997) ancient Afrocentric historical
      research makes ancient Afrocentric area studies a valid field of
      research (Winters, 1994). Haslip-Viera, Ortiz de Montellano and
      Barbour (1997) criticized the view held by many Afrocentrist that the
      Olmec peo ple were Africans, due to the research of Ivan van Sertima.
      Use of van Sertima (1976) by Haslip-Viera, Ortiz de Montellano and
      Barbour (1997: 419) to denigrate Afrocentrism is unfair, because this
      researcher has made it clear since the publication of his book They
      came before Columbus in 1976, that he is not an Afrocentrist.
      Although Haslip-Viera, Ortiz de Montellano and Barbour (1997: 431)
      acknowledge this truth in there rebuttal of van Sertima, the authors
      refer to Afrocentrist as purveyors of "ras m", interested only in
      denying the authentic role of Native Americans in the rise of
      American civilizations.

      Haslip-Viera, Ortiz de Montellano and Barbour (1997: 419, 423-25)
      argue that the claims of the Afrocentrists claims that the Olmecs
      were Africans, must be rejected because 1) the Olmecs do not look
      like Nubians, and 2) the absence of an African artifact recovered
      from an archaeological excavation. These authors are wrong on both
      counts, there are numerous resemblance between the ancient Olmec
      people and ancient Nubians, and an African artifact: Manding writing,
      is engraved on many Olmec artifacts discovered during archaeological
      excavation (Winters, 1979, 1997)

      Haslip-Viera, Ortiz de Montellano and Barbour (1997) argue 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 preceded the civilization of the Kushites by hundreds of
      years. They also claim that the Olmecs had flat noses, while the
      Nubians had "thinner noses" because they lived in the desert (Haslip-
      Viera, Ortiz de Montellano & Barbour, 1997:423).

      This view is false. The ancient Nubians like African- Americans today
      were not monolithic, they had different hues of skin, facial features
      and nose shapes (Keita, 1996: 104). This is evident in from the wall-
      painting from the tomb-chapel of Sebekhotep at Thebes, c.1400 BC,
      which show Nubians, of different types bringing rings of gold,
      incense and other luxury items to the Egyptian Pharaoh (Taylor,

      One of the major Pharoahs of Egypt and Nubia/Kush was Taharqo. The
      Sphinx of Taharqo c. 690-664 BC, found in Temple 1 at Kawa and the
      shabti (tomb figure) of Taharqo in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston is
      strikingly similar in facial features, including, the short round
      face, thick lips and flat nose associated with the Olmec people
      (Taylor, 1991).

      King Taharqa
      Moreover a comparison of Olmec heads and a bust of Taharqo
      illustrated striking similarities when they were placed along side
      each other (Winters, 1984b:47). The iconographic evidence of the
      ancient Nubians clearly indicate that there were many round faced,
      thick lipped, flat nosed Nubians described in the Classical
      literature (Snowden, 1996: 106) that fit the archtypical Olmec ruler
      type ( Haslip-Viera, Ortiz de Montellano and Barbour, 1997).

      Although the Olmec and Meroitic iconographic documents share many
      analogous facial features , we must admit that the Nubian hypothesis
      for the Olmecs must be rejected. It must be rejected because the
      Kings of Meroitic Kush, and the Olmec Kings existed during different
      historical eras. The Haslip-Viera, Ortiz de Montellano and Barbour
      (1997) argument regarding van Sertima's Egypto-Nubian hypothesis has
      merit . 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.

      Comparison of a Nuba and Olmec Head
      I was misrepresented by Haslip-Viera, Ortiz de Montellano and Barbour
      (1997: 421). They claim that I support the Egypto- Nubian hypothesis
      of van Sertima, and belong to the so-called "extreme" Afrocentric
      position on Olmec civilization (Haslip- Viera, Ortiz de Montellano
      and Barbour, 1997: 421)

      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. And, there is no denying the fact that Africans early
      settled the Americas ( Wiener, 1920-1922; von Wuthenau, 1980).

      Never in any of my publications on Olmec and African contact have I
      ever claimed that the Egypto-Nubians had contact with the Olmecs
      (Winters, 1979, 1981/1982,1983, 1984a, 1984c, 1997). Following Wiener
      (1922) I have maintained all along the traditional Afrocentric view
      of Olmec and African paradigm that the Manding speaking West Africans
      had contact with the Olmec.

      Wiener (1922) based his identification of the Manding influence over
      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 (Soustelle, 1984; Tate, 1995).

      The major evidence for the African origin of the Olmecs comes from
      the writing of the Maya and Olmec people. As mentioned earlier most
      experts believe that the Mayan writing system came from the Olmecs
      (Soustelle, 1984). The evidence of African styl e writing among the
      Olmecs is evidence for Old World influence in Mexico. The Olmecs have
      left numerous symbols or signs inscribed on pottery, statuettes,
      batons/scepters, stelas and bas-reliefs that have been recognized as
      writing ( Soustelle, 1984; von Wuthenau, 1980; Winters, 1979). The
      view that the Olmecs were the fir st Americans to 1) invent a complex
      system of chronology, 2) a method of calculating time, and 3) a
      hieroglyphic script which was later adopted by Izapan and Mayan
      civilizations, is now accepted by practically all Meso-American
      specialist (Soustelle, (1984).

      In 1979, I announced the decipherment of the Olmec writing (Winters,
      1979). It is generally accepted that the decipherment of an unknown
      language/script requires 1) bilingual texts and/or 2) knowledge of
      the cognate language(s). It has long been felt by many Meso-
      Americanist that the Olmec writing met non of these criteria because,
      no one knew exactly what language was spoken by the Olmec that appear
      suddenly at San Lorenzo and La Venta in Veracruz, around 1200 B.C.

      The view that Africans originated writing in America is not new.
      Scholars early recognized the affinity between Amerindian scripts and
      the Mande script(s) (Wiener, 1922, v.3; Rafinesque, 1832). In 1832,
      Rafinesque noted the similarities between the Mayan glyphs and the
      Libyco-Berber writing. And Leo Wiener (1922, v.3), was the first
      researcher to recognize the resemblances between the Manding writing
      and the symbols on the Tuxtla statuette. In addition, Harold Lawrence
      (1962) noted that the "petroglyphic" inscriptions found throughout
      much of the southern hemisphere compared identically with the writing
      system of the Manding.

      The second evidence pointing 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 o f 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

      Up until 1995, there were only a few published Olmec inscriptions
      (Winters, 1979). Today there are many Olmec inscriptions published in
      Jill Gutherie (1995) catalogue for the exhibition "The Olmec World:
      Ritual and Rulership", organized by the Art Mu seum of Princeton
      University. Manding Origin of Mayan term for Writing

      The linguistic evidence (Brown, 1991), forces us to aknowledge that
      the Mayan term *c'ib is probably derived from Manding *Se'be. This
      provides the best hypothesis for the origin of the Mayan term for
      writing given the fact that the Mayan /c/ corr eponds to the
      Manding /s/, and the archaeological and linguistic evidence which
      indicate that the Maya did not have writing in Proto-Mayan times. And
      as a result, the term for writing had to have come into the Mayan
      languages after the separation of Proto -Maya. This would explain the
      identification of the Olmec or Xi/Shi people as Manding speakers. In
      addition to the Manding origin of the Mayan term for writing, there
      are a number Mayan terms that are derived from the Olmec language .

      In conclusion, the Manding speaking ancestors of the Olmecs came from
      the Saharan zone of North Africa (Winters, 1983, 1984c, 1986). Here
      the Proto-Olmecs left their earliest inscriptions at Oued Mertoutek
      (Winters, 1979,1983). They took a full fledged literate culture to

      This view is supported both by 1) our ability to read the Olmec
      inscriptions; 2) confirmation that the Mayan term for writing *c'ib,
      is of Manding origin; and 3) the symbols for Mayan writing are
      cognate to the Manding writing systems used in Africa . Moreover, the
      evidence presented in this paper makes it clear that the people who
      introduced writing to the Maya when they met at Nonoulco, may have
      been Manding speaking Olmecs.. Discovery at Olmec sites such as
      LaVenta Offering No.4 , of Manding writing provide the "absolute
      proof " of African and Olmec contact. The presence of readable
      African writing on Olmec celts, masks and statues, is the genuine
      African artifact found "in controlled excavations in the New World"
      demanded by Haslip-Viera, Ortiz de Montellano and Barbour (1997: 419)
      that confirms the Afrocentric claim of ancient African and Olmec


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