In this issue of Science Online, we present an experiment in web publishing. The print version of Science contains a research report by Justeson and Kaufman on decipherment of epi-Olmec inscriptions on a stone monument. The online version contains both the version which appears in print and a longer version below presenting the results of the decipherment in much greater detail. Most readers should find the print version useful for learning about the results in general, whereas specialists in mesoamerican studies will benefit from the expanded description of how the decipherment was carried out.
Cultural context[ edit ] Left side image of La Mojarra Stela 1 showing a person identified as "Harvester Mountain Lord" The rise of the Epi-Olmec culture on the western edge of the Olmec heartland coincides with the depopulation of the eastern half of the Olmec heartland and the decline of the Olmec culture in general.
The Epi-Olmec culture represented a gradual transformation of, rather than a sharp break with, the Olmec culture.
Many Olmec motifsfor example, were employed by its successor culture. Tres Zapotesone of the largest Olmec sites, continued as a regional center under the Epi-Olmec culture. And daily life for the non-elites continued much the same: Ceramic figurines were less realistically detailed,  and the basalt monuments and stelae at Tres Zapotes lacked the artisanship, refinement, and detail of the earlier San Lorenzo and La Venta work.
In contrast, Epi-Olmec monuments show a dramatic increasing concern with historicity, culminating in the eventual appearance of dated transcriptions.
These Epi-Olmec texts were the most detailed of this era in Mesoamerica.
La Mojarra Stela 1, for example, shows a ruler in an elaborate outfit and headdress. Justeson and Kaufman's translation of the accompanying Isthmian script gives the figure's name as Harvester Mountain Lord and the script tells of his rise to power, warfare, a solar eclipse, his own bloodlettingand a "dripping sacrifice",  perhaps of his brother-in-law.
Unlike the La Mojarra Stela 1, these two monuments also show a subordinate, and likely intimidated, smaller figure. Some badly eroded Isthmian script glyphs may appear on the Alvarado Stela. Although Tres Zapotes would continue into the Classic eraits heyday had passed and Epi-Olmec had given way to the Classic Veracruz culture.The Isthmian script is a very early Mesoamerican writing system in use in the area of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec from perhaps BCE to CE, although there is disagreement on these dates.
It is also called the La Mojarra script and the Epi-Olmec script ('post-Olmec script'). The script is more closely related to Mayan hieroglyphic writing than to other early Mesoamerican scripts, and this relation is closer than previously recognized. The decipherment of part of the epi-Olmec script of ancient Mexico, which yields the earliest currently readable texts in Mesoamerica, has been achieved over the last 2 years.
ADeciphermentof Epi-Olmec Hieroglyphic Writing hieroglyphic writing than to other early Mesoamerican scripts, andthis relation is closer identify epi-Olmec texts as pre-proto-Zo-quean (ancestral to proto-Zoquean) by re-lating textual evidence to Kaufman's (1) reconstruction of Mixe-Zoquean language history.
The script is more closely related to Mayan hieroglyphic writing than to other early Mesoamerican scripts, and this relation is closer than previously recognized. The decipherment of part of the epi-Olmec script of ancient Mexico, which yields the earliest currently readable texts in Mesoamerica, has been achieved over the last 2 years.
Study of a newly discovered column of hieroglyphic text on the La Mojarra stela, a four-ton basalt slab discovered in and bearing one of the oldest examples of complex writing in the New World, has confirmed the accuracy of translations published four years ago by epigraphers John S.
Justeson of the State University of New York, Albany, and . Created Date: 4/6/ PM.