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September 15, 2006
Brown in the News
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Claim of oldest New World writing excites archaeologists
A stone block uncovered in a Mexican quarry provides dramatic evidence that the ancient Olmec people developed a writing system as early as 900 B.C.E., according to Professor of Anthropology Stephen Houston and six other Mesoamerican scholars writing in this week's issue of Science (http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/313/5793/1610). That makes the block's 62-sign inscription by far the oldest writing discovered in the New World. "It's a jaw-dropping find," says Houston. Listen to Houston discuss the finding in a Science Magazine podcast: http://podcasts.aaas.org/science_podcast/SciencePodcast_060915.mp3
See news release: www.brown.edu/Administration/News_Bureau/2006-07/06-021.html
Writing may be oldest in Western Hemisphere
A stone slab bearing 3,000-year-old writing previously unknown to scholars has been found in the Mexican state of Veracruz, and archaeologists say it is an example of the oldest script ever discovered in the Western Hemisphere. Professor of Anthropology Stephen D. Houston, a co-author of the report and an authority on ancient writings, said the discovery “could be the beginning of a new era of focus on the Olmec civilization.” This article appeared in scores of newspapers and on news Web sites around the world.
Free registration: www.nytimes.com/2006/09/15/science/15writing.html
Stone slab bears earliest writing in the Americas
An ancient slab of green stone inscribed with insects, ears of corn, fish and other symbols is indecipherable so far, but one message is clear: It is the earliest known writing in the Western Hemisphere, said Professor of Anthropology Stephen Houston, one of seven archaeologists who detail the tablet's discovery and analysis in a study appearing this week in the journal Science. This wire service article was disseminated to media around the world and appeared in scores of newspapers and on news Web sites.
Writing on Olmec slab is hemisphere's oldest
Archeologists, including Professor of Anthropology Stephen Houston, have uncovered a 3,000-year-old stone tablet that bears the oldest writing in the Western Hemisphere and the first text unambiguously linked to the Olmec empire. Scientists may never be able to translate the text unless they find many more examples of Olmec writing, said Houston, but "if we can decode it, it gives us a chance of hearing their voices and finding out what they considered important and worth recording." This article appeared in several newspapers around the country.
Buried treasure: Americas' oldest text, set in stone
Weathered and pitted with the passage of 3,000 years, a rock slab found in southern Mexico shows clear evidence of a script that anthropologists say is the oldest writing ever found in the Western Hemisphere. Professor of Anthropology Stephen Houston is among the researchers who identified the carved symbols as those of the Olmec civilization. "This find knocked us off our feet," he said. "Writing systems of the ancient world are discovered once in a lifetime." This article appeared in several newspapers around the country.
Earliest New World writing discovered
A heap of debris taken from a quarry in Veracruz, Mexico, has yielded a stone block inscribed with what appears to be the oldest writing ever found in the Americas. It is a once-in-a-lifetime discovery, says Professor of Anthropology Stephen Houston. A link to the segment’s archived audio is available from the NPR site.
Oldest writing in New World discovered, scientists say
A writing system lost for 3,000 years has been rediscovered on an ancient stone tablet in Mexico. The tablet is the earliest example of writing in the New World, pushing back the origins of writing in the region by several hundred years. "The rediscovery of ancient writing systems is one of the rarest events in archaeology," said Professor of Archaeology Stephen Houston, who helped interpret the tablet's markings. "It's a very momentous find." National Geographic.com is the magazine’s companion Web site.
'A jaw-dropping find'
A stone block inscribed with patterned images that was unearthed in a Mexican gravel quarry may be the earliest evidence of writing in the New World. Professor of Anthropology Stephen Houston is one of seven Mesoamerican archeologists who determined that the slab dates to about 900 B.C. and was carved by the ancient Olmec civilization, suggesting the Olmecs were using written language about three centuries before the oldest previously known effort in the region to develop a writing system.
Old script rewrites New World history
Scientists announced that they have discovered ancient writing, carved in stone, that dramatically pushes back the dawn of writing in the Americas. "This is the find of a lifetime," said Professor of Anthropology Stephen D. Houston, who coauthored a study of the block in the journal Science.
Mexican stone block could hold New World's first poem
It could be the New World's first poem, as well as its earliest example of writing of any kind. A stone discovered in Veracruz, Mexico, has the earliest form of text in the Americas, according to research to be published in the journal Science. An international team of archeologists, including Professor of Anthropology Stephen D. Houston, dated the block to about 900 B.C. CBC.com is the Canadian Broadcast Corporation’s companion Web site.
Oldest writing in New World discovered
A slab inscribed with the oldest writing yet discovered in the New World has been discovered in the Veracruz lowlands in Mexico. The writing dates back nearly 3000 years to the height of the Olmec culture that was the first Mesoamerican civilisation. Isolated symbols have been found on a few Olmec artefacts, but the slab is the first solid evidence of a true written language, says Professor of Anthropology Stephen Houston. NewScientist.com is the magazine’s companion Web site.
Rubble reveals 3,000-year-old poetry
A block of stone inscribed with patterned images suggestive of rhyming couplets is hailed today as the oldest known example of writing in the New World. An international team, including Professor of Anthropology Stephen Houston, concludes that the slab dates to the early first millennium BC. "It's a jaw-dropping find," said Houston.
Oldest writing from New World discovered
A stone block found with patterned inscriptions from an ancient civilisation in Veracruz, Mexico, is believed to be evidence of the oldest writing from the New World. Professor of Anthropology Stephen Houston worked with a team of international archaeologists to date the block back to the early first millennium BC. “This is momentous: one of a handful of ancient writing systems discovered in modern times; and it makes the Olmec Civilisation, first in Mexico and Central America, literate, with all of the organisational consequences of that development: records of economy, ritual, and enduring precedent,” said Houston.
Archaeologists find carvings made by pre-Aztec civilisation
A stone block unearthed in Mexico and covered in carved patterns is thought to be the oldest example of writing found in the Americas. An international team of researchers, including Professor of Anthropology Stephen Houston, said that the find shed surprising new light on the Olmecs. "It's a jaw-dropping find. It takes this civilisation to a different level," Houston said.
Science stimulates us toward higher achievement
Jason Becker, a Brown sophomore, co-wrote an editorial about the week he spent meeting with 23 Nobel Laureates this summer as part of a conference sponsored for students who placed in the Siemens Westinghouse Competition. In addition to meeting some of the greatest minds in science, Becker wrote that the conference also offered “a rare opportunity to meet some of the world's finest younger scientific minds. As a group, we all connected well through our common passion for science and our desire to address many of the world's problems through science.”
Chabad movement gaining followers in South Florida
Professor of Judaic Studies Lynn Davidman reflects on reasons the Chabad movement is unlikely to replace any of the mainstream Jewish denominations.
Alum gives Syracuse money for students
The estate of the late Frederic N. and Eleanor Schwartz has made a $26.5-million gift to Brown University for scholarship support. Eleanor was a member of the Pembroke College Class of 1929. The estate also donated $26.5 million to Syracuse University, Frederic’s alma mater, for scholarship support. Frederic was the former chairman and CEO of Bristol-Myers.
See news release: www.brown.edu/Administration/News_Bureau/2006-07/06-023.html