Archaeologists have applauded recent excavations at an ancient settlement in southeastern Mexico that have yielded an array of artifacts from the Olmec civilization. However, controversy has flared with the claim that a few of these artifacts display remnants of the first written language in the New World, dating to around 650 B.C.
A cylindrical ceramic seal and four pieces of a jade plaque were unearthed at the San Andrés site in 1997 and 1998. Symbols carved on those finds belong to a writing system based on the spoken Olmec tongue, contend Mary E.D. Pohl of Florida State