Sunday, September 17, 2006
The earliest example of writing from the New World was discovered recently. The makers were Olmec (yes, Legends of the Hidden Temple enthusiasts, have your nerdgasms, then realize that your childhood was a sham and the Olmecs were an indigenous people to the Americas... not a smarmy talking stone head). Up until now, scientists and linguists have been completely stumped on the meanings of all the symbols... as I said, up until now...
Here's a rough sketching of all the symbols:
Image stolen from NPR, by the way, but they stole it from the scientists, who stole it from the Silver Snakes, so whatever.
Now, you can see it looks like a bunch of bugs, ice cream cones, and corn stalks. And you would be right. They do seem to be those things. So, why, up until now, haven't archaeologists and linguists taken a practical approach and just decided, the hell with it, maybe these symbols mean exactly what they look like?
Because archaeologists and linguists wouldn't get paid as much anymore, that's why.
But don't worry. Ol' Eaglie'll take the approach you all know is right.
The first symbol is a bug. Makes sense. There are a lot of bugs in the rainforests where this tablet comes from. Next, we see something on a stick. It may be a flower, it may be a Dreamsicle, or it may be an Ace of Spades. I'm really not sure. We'll come back to this one.
So, we have a spikey-looking fruit, possibly corn. We'll go with the rought translation: "The Bugs... spikey fruits." By the power of deduction, the Bugs must have eaten the corn. "The Bugs ate spikey fruits." However, I am willing to bet in a game of Sacrifice-your-opponents-to-your-Chosen-Deity that we're missing something here. Perhaps there's a possessive in there! "The Bugs ate our spikey fruits" makes a lot more sense! Just like plagues of locusts!
At this point, it seems like the end of a line of symbols, since these three seem detached from the fourth, so we'll chisel in our own period. These people really needed to watch their punctuation.
Next, there's a torch, maybe on a watchtower. After that, is a block, with a line through it. Must be a verb. Say, "to light." "The Watchtowers lit..."
Next, a block with two curls at the ends... adverb. We'll say, "lightly," since the picture seems so amazingly close to the picture beforehand. "The Watchtowers lit lightly." Add period. Jeez, now I know why scientists take years to do this.
Next, we see a pineapple with a spoiler on top...
How about I skip to the end product?
The Bugs ate our spikey fruits. The watchtowers lit lightly. The Pineapple people warned Chieftain Splat. Jellyfish Snowcone. Bales of carrots were stored with more carrots. Storage houses however were empty of snow. Bugs ate it, the People and Splat knew. Saws lightly jellyfished until bad carrots were made good again. STORAGE! STAIRS! Lightly ate the People. These are Pineapple People (in case you've forgotten), and they warned of the bales and stairs not being good enough for carrots, lots more carrots. Bugs knew and ate spikey fruits Splat said, and jellyfish and carrots would not substitute for spikey fruits. Warned good were the Tribe of the Snow.
I assume these "Pineapple People" referred to themselves as "Snowcones" and "Tribe of the Snow." Then, this makes a whole lot more sense.