posted on May, 1 2003 @ 06:14 AM
The discovery of a fist-sized ceramic cylinder and fragments of engraved plaques has pushed back the earliest evidence of writing in the Americas by
at least 350 years to 650 BC.
Archaeologists uncovered the cylinder and fingernail-sized fragments among debris from an ancient festival at San Andres, an Olmec town on the coastal
plain of the Mexican state of Tabasco.
Carbon dating of layers in the rubbish heap gave age of the artefacts. The next-oldest writing from the region is on a monument at a site of the
Zapotec culture 300 kilometres to the west. But its date is poorly constrained, to sometime between 300 BC and 200 AD. Three later cultures in the
same area used similar writing, the well-known Mayan, and the lesser-known Isthmain and Oxacan.