Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Indigenous Andean Writing

For more years than I can remember, the fact that there has never been any indigenous writing found in the Andean area has always been touted by archaeologists, anthropologists and others that the ancient Andean people were illiterate. It has also given fuel to critics, including Mesoamerican Theorists, of South America that this could not have been the location of the Land of Promise.
On the other hand, as early as 1953, a writing source was located around Lake Titicaca along the Bolivian-Peruvian border, that dates back into B.C. times. The Fuente Magna, found on the property of the Manjon family by a local peasant, is a large, round stone vessel, some two feet across. In fact, a section of the rim is filled with cuneiform writing, and includes a determinative used before divine names.
The rim section with Cuneiform writing found on an ancient bowl-like vessel at Fuente Magna, a region near Chua, on the shores of Lake Titicaca within the area of the ancient ruins of Tiwanaku
The discovery of the large stone dish covered in proto- (first) cuneiform writing from the shores of Lake Titicaca, offers two possibilities according to archaeologists and Sumerologists. One, “that the vessel was brought to the Andes by the proto-Sumerians, or two, that the Sumerians themselves originated here [in Peru-Bolivia].”
The stone vessel itself is about two-feet across—note its placement (left) between the feet of a man’s stance looking downward—and is called, for lack of a better name, the “Rosetta Stone of the Americas.” The writing (bottom) is shown to be similar to Mesopotamian Cuneiform, in fact, photos of the interior panel were sent to linguistics around the world, who declared with no doubt that the writing system was Sumerian cuneiform.
It might be of interest to know that, according to one of the world’s foremost philologists as well as Sumerologists, Samuel Noah Kramer’s (1958) History Begins in Sumer, the Sumerians were a people that existed in the land between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers until they were absorbed into the Akkadians, who were a Semitic people that spoke a language related to Hebrew and Arabic, which area today we know as Babylon. It should also be noted that the capitol of Sumer was Ur, the home of Abraham (Genesis 11:26,28,31)
The Sumerians are credited with creating a writing system whose wedge-shaped strokes would influence the style of scripts in the same geographical area for more than two thousand years. Eventually, all of these diverse writing systems, which encompass logophonetic (hieroglyph), consonantal alphabetic (consonant), and syllabic systems (characters representing syllables), became known as Cuneiform. This writing, as an example, was used not only by the Sumerians, but also by the Babylonians and Syrians, though each wrote different languages with it. The consantal writing of this system, that is only consonants, like Hebrew and Arabic, and is called abjad, where the reader is left to supply the appropriate vowel, and is often considered part of the proto-sinaitic script.
As for the two points above, it is not feasible that the second point mentioned, that is that the Sumerians originated in Peru-Bolivia, would be at all likely since Old World records show the Sumerians in Mesopotamia from earliest times, therefore, that leaves the fact that the Fuente Magna vessel was brought to Peru-Bolivia by people from Mesopotamia, which should sound familiar to readers of Ether in the Book of Mormon.
In 1958 through 1960, don Max Portugal-Zamora, a Bolivian archaeologist, began to restore the vessel. He lost no time in attempting to decipher the writing inside the vessel turning to the texts known as Qellga Llippichi, one of which had been interpreted by don Franz Tamayo. Portugal also consulted a publication by Dr. Dick Edgar Ibarra Grasso, entitled “Indigenous Andean Writing.” However, experts conclude that “it ended as you might expect (fruitless). The limits of his honest efforts. The writing is undoubtedly from the Old World,” estimated to be somewhere around 3000 B.C.
To scientists who do not know of the Jaredites, nor would believe in such a people coming to the Western Hemisphere if they did know about them, nor accept any historical facts from the Book of Mormon, they have no answer as to how this vessel turned up at Lake Titicaca in B.C. times, other than early explorers or tin merchants sailed to the Andean area from Mesopotamia. They cannot figure out how an Old World vessel, clearly written upon by proto-Sumerians in Mesopotamia, showed up along the Peruvian-Bolivian border.
In addition to the vessel, there is the Pokotia stelae (also known as the Pokotia Monument or Monolith), and the stones and glyphs of Tiwanaku. These stelae discovered in Bolivia contain logo-syllabic and cuneiform writing, of the same kind of the ones used in Egypt and Elam—they are identified as proto-elamitic and proto-hebrew!
This stone statue was excavated from the site of Pokotia, four miles from Tiwanaku along the Bolivian-Peruvian border. In December 2001 inscriptions and patterns on the front and back of the statue were photographed by a team led by the Bolivian archaeologist Bernardo Biados. Photos of the statue show a worn male figure standing upright with his arms at his sides. It appears to be partly clothed, with a loincloth-like garment, armbands and possibly a circlet or headdress. The face is almost entirely eroded away. There are rib-like lines on the chest. The statue is broken at the feet and at the neck. The symbols are found on the front of the legs, below the hands and on the right and left thighs. More are found on the back of the statue.
The Pokotia stelae (left) is a stone carving, and a series of images (center and right) that compare the writing system used in Sumeria with what was found in Bolivia. The symbols, which have syllabic value, are read from top to bottom, right to left
Dr. Clyde A. Winters, the man who deciphered the writing on the Fuente Magna, in his work, “The Back and side inscriptions on the Pokotia Monolith,” has identified the inscriptions as proto-Sumerian. They are written in the Sumerian language and are non-ligature (graphemes not joined in a single glyph such as æ or œ, etc.) Proto-Sumerian symbols. Winters has said, “This monolith proves that the ancient South Americans had syllabic writing. Alexander von Humboldt, in Vues des cordillieres et monuments des peuples indigenes de Amerique (Views of the cordilleras and Monuments of indigenous peoples of America, 1824) wrote that: "There can be no doubt that the Peruvians had besides Quippus, a knowledge of a sign script."
The Pokotia inscriptions show affinity to the inscriptions found on the Fuente Magna vessel, and may be Hebraic—from the sinaitic appearance influenced by cuneiform, or simply cuneiform of possible sumero-akkadian origins.
(See the next post, “Sumerians in South America?” for more about ancient Andean writing and the fact that the Andean area is home not only to the Jaredites, but also to Reformed Egyptian hieroglyphics according to one of the world’s foremost Egyptologists)

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