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Grant number like: RZ-271159-20

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Florida State University (Tallahassee, FL 32306-0001)
Michael David Carrasco (Project Director: December 2019 to present)
Joshua D. Englehardt (Co Project Director: January 2020 to present)

Collaborative Research
Research Programs

$249,850 (approved)
$247,217 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2021 – 12/31/2023

The Origins of Writing in Early Mesoamerica

Preparation of a print monograph and digital archive detailing the origins of writing in Mesoamerica (1500-300 BCE). (36 months)

This book project charts the origins and development of writing in Mesoamerica to explore the critical time in the Early and Middle Formative Periods (ca. 1500–300 BCE) when Mesoamerican peoples developed a number of writing systems from sophisticated iconography. Further, it examines the continuous dialogue between these ancestral artistic systems and later scripts, such as those of the Maya and Zapotec cultures, as well as how writing influenced visual culture. Building on a range of theoretical models, new discoveries, and recent field research, this book project elucidates the transition from a shared foundational iconography to phonetic writing. The aim is to craft a robust understanding of the emergence of writing and contextualize it in the rich visual culture of Mesoamerica, thereby contributing to a better theoretical conception of the origins and role of writing in early civilizations.