University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Pre-Columbian Society Lecture: Classic Veracruz Writing

Saturday 10 February 2018
1:30PM - 2:30PM
Penn Museum

Dr. Anders Bettum

Speaker: Dr. Cherra Whyllie, Ph.D.

Ancient Veracruz was home to two extant scripts. The most renowned of these was the so-called Epi-Olmec writing system found predominantly in the Mixtequilla-Tuxtlas region of south-central Veracruz. During the Classic period the script evolved from use in text-based narrative, with images serving as static illustrations, to image-based conveyance using a limited number of hieroglyphs to provide captions to the imagery. At the site of El Tajin, using an independently conceived script, hieroglyphs also serve as captions in pictorial narratives. Additionally central Mexican writing systems appear on Classic Veracruz monuments at sites including Piedra Labrada and Maltrata. This presentation examines the diagnostic attributes of Classic Veracruz scripts, paying special attention to the respective characteristics of calendric signs and toponyms.

Cherra Wyllie is an archaeologist and natural science illustrator. She earned her MA in Archaeological Studies and PhD in Anthropology at Yale University specializing in the iconography and epigraphy of Classic Veracruz, Mexico. She was an Associate Professor at the University of Hartford where she taught ancient and non-western art and archaeology, before moving to New York full time in 2014. She is one of the founding directors of the Pre-Columbian Society of New York and is currently working on the Paul Tolstoy collections in the Anthropology Division of the American Museum of Natural History. Dr. Wyllie has written extensively on central Veracruz sculpture, ceramics, and mural paintings. She has also published on the art of the ancient Near East.

Free Admission

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