Nahuatl has been spoken in central Mexico since at least the seventh century CE. It was the language of the Aztecswho dominated what is now central Mexico during the Late Postclassic period of Mesoamerican history. During the centuries preceding the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire, the Aztecs had expanded to incorporate a large part of central Mexico, and its influence caused the variety of Nahuatl spoken by the residents of Tenochtitlan to become a prestige language in Mesoamerica. At the conquest, with the introduction of the Latin alphabet, Nahuatl also became a literary language, and many chronicles, grammars, works of poetry, administrative documents and codices were written in it during the 16th and 17th centuries. This early literary language based on the Tenochtitlan variety has been labeled Classical Nahuatl, and is among the most studied and best-documented languages of America.
A quipu, or knot-record (also called khipu), was a method used by the Incas and other ancient Andean cultures to keep records and communicate information. In the absence of an alphabetic writing system, this simple and highly portable device achieved a surprising degree of precision and flexibility. Using a wide variety of colours, strings, and sometimes several hundred knots all tied in various ways at various heights, quipu could record dates, statistics, accounts, and even represent, in abstract form, key episodes from traditional folk stories and poetry. In recent years scholars have also challenged the traditional view that quipu were merely a memory aid device and go so far as to suggest that quipu may have been progressing towards narrative records and so becoming a viable alternative to written language just when the Inca Empire collapsed.
ANCIENT HISTORY ENCYCLOPEDIA- Quipu
Dr. Gary Urton, is the Founder/Director of the Harvard Khipu Database Project, which seeks to decode the Inka recording device, the khipu (or quipu). He is currently at work analyzing a collection of khipus recently excavated at an Inka storage facility at the site of Inkawasi, on the south coast of Peru.
KHIPU DATABASE PROJECT
DUMBARTON OAKS RESEARCH LIBRARY AND COLLECTION
GARY URTON, MACARTHUR FOUNDATION FELLOW
MACARTHUR GRANT, 2000
Once considered an unsolvable enigma, recent advances in the decipherment of the Maya writing system has not only shed light on the mechanics of the script, but also on the socio-political, artistic, and historical aspects of Maya civilization.
As a whole, the Maya people created the longest lasting civilization of the New World. It became distinguishable from other early farming cultures of Mesoamerica in the middle of the first millenium BCE, when the first great Maya cities were constructed. Their culture endured through changes, wars, and disasters until it was suppressed by the Spanish conquest in the 16th and 17th centuries. The last indepedent Maya kingdom of Tayasal, fell as late as 1697. However, the Maya survived and there is estimated to be at least one million Mayas living in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras today.
Ancient scripts: Maya
Intro to Mayan Glyphs
“What do you call a male sibling? If you speak English, he is your “brother.” Greek? Call him “phrater.” Sanskrit, Latin, Old Irish? “Bhrater,” “frater,” or “brathir,” respectively. Ever since the mid-17th century, scholars have noted such similarities among the so-called Indo-European languages, which span the world and number more than 400 if dialects are included. Researchers agree that they can probably all be traced back to one ancestral language, called Proto-Indo-European (PIE).
But for nearly 20 years, scholars have debated vehemently when and where PIE arose. Two long-awaited studies, one described online this week in a preprint and another scheduled for publication later this month, have now used different methods to support one leading hypothesis: that PIE was first spoken by pastoral herders who lived in the vast steppe lands north of the Black Sea beginning about 6000 years ago. One study points out that these steppe land herders have left their genetic mark on most Europeans living today.
“The studies’ conclusions emerge from state-of-the-art ancient DNA and linguistic analyses, but the debate over PIE’s origins is likely to continue. A rival hypothesis—that early farmers living in Anatolia (modern Turkey) about 8000 years ago were the original PIE speakers—is not ruled out by the new analyses, most agree. Although the steppe hypothesis has now received a major boost, “I would not say the Anatolian hypothesis has been killed,” says Carles Lalueza-Fox, a geneticist at Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, Spain, who participated in neither of the new studies. Up until the 1980s, variations of the steppe hypothesis held sway among most linguists and archaeologists tracking down Indo-European’s birthplace.
Then in 1987, archaeologist Colin Renfrew of the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom proposed that PIE spread with farming from its origins in the Fertile Crescent of the Middle East, moving west into Europe and east further into Asia; over time the languages continued to spread and diversify into the many Indo-European languages we know today….”
“Newly discovered layers of fiery destruction in ancient Jaffa bear witness to long-forgotten violent Canaanite resistance to Egyptian rule over the seaside city thousands of years ago, a defiance entirely missing from historical sources.
Archaeologists had previously found the extraordinary mud-brick "Ramesses Gate," the remains of a gargantuan fortress that the pharaonic New Kingdom conquerors built in Jaffa when they controlled the city (from around 1460 B.C.E. to 1125 B.C.E.). Now excavations around the fortified gate, the most massive complex of the type outside Egypt itself, have exposed more remains of the fortress that tell a forgotten story.
Bent arrowheads and a massive destruction layer of burned mud-bricks found under the collapsed tower at the Ramesses Gate attest that the Canaanites bitterly opposed Egyptian rule in Jaffa, which reached its peak during the 12th century B.C.E., say archaeologists excavating the site, which has been extensively explored over the years by the Jaffa Cultural Heritage Project (2011-2014), Tel Aviv University in the late 1990s, and by Jacob Kaplan, the municipal archaeologist of Tel Aviv-Jaffa (1955-1974).
More than 50 ceramic vessels were recovered from a 2-meter thick layer of destruction debris. Some were found underneath a 4-meter wide collapsed passageway. Others evidently fell from the towers of the gate complex into the destruction debris.
“It seem like [the Canaanites] lit the ceiling of the gate complex on fire, and it collapsed,” says Prof. Aaron Burke of the University of California, Los Angeles, one of the directors of the renewed excavations at Jaffa. "We discovered 24 one-to-two meter sections of timber and planks, including their wooden pegs, buried in each of the towers that collapsed," he told Haaretz.
read more: http://www.haaretz.com/jewish/archaeology/1.748579