One of the most important archaeologists in America, Dr.Clarence Weiant, was on site in 1938 when the first African stone head was discovered in Mexico. Since that time, a number of heads were excavated together with other artifacts of seemingly African origin, and the debate ensued as to the ethnic origins of the civilization that left this mark in Mexico circa 1200 - 600 BC, predating the Aztecs.
After years of extensive research across multiple disciplines, Dr. Van Sertima revealed to the archaeological world detailed documentation evidencing the presence and influence of black Africans as the ethnic tie to theOlmeccivilization in ancient America. His research culminated in therelease of his book, They Came Before Columbus. Due to the revolutionary implicationsof hisfindings, Dr. Van Sertima's findings have been both criticized and praised.
And Dr.Clarance Weiant, reflecting on the research performed by Dr. Van Sertima , ultimately agreed with his findings, stating “[They CameBeforeColumbus] is a summary of six or seven years of meticulous research, based upon archaeology, Egyptology, African history, oceanography, geology, astronomy, botan y , rare Arabic and Chinese manuscripts, the letters and journals of early American explorers... As one who has been immersed in Mexican archaeology for some 40 years and who participated in the excavation of the first of the giant heads, I must confess, I am thoroughly convinced of the soundness of Van Sertima’s conclusions.”
Despite the ongoing debate among researchers in the field, there is no denying the fact that the discovery of the Olmec civilization in 1938 (a complex, sophisticated civilization that existed in Mexico for over 600 years), demonstrates that there are significant people, places and events in human history that are still being uncovered, and that the common "history" we learned in school is not the final word.
To the right, our Olmec Jade jacket, referencing the stone and color palette used by the Olmecs in jewelry and certain ceremonial pieces.
From patterns found on the reliefsof certain Olmec ruins (pictured two slides above), to the corresponding shields of Olmec and Western African origin (pictured here), to jewelry, precious stones, plantsand other evidenceleft by theOlmecor used by researchersto express their findings on this previously unknown civilization, our chapter on the Olmec responds to this exciting cross-cultural history and previously unknown history by incorporating and referencing these significant findings.