Authors

Cameron Berkley

Title

The Mesoamerican Corpus of Formative Period Art and Writing

Abstract

The Mesoamerican Corpus of Formative Period Art and Writing is a digital resource that will expand currently-available data to facilitate and robustly support research on the emergence of writing in the New World. The goal of the project is to reveal the artistic and scribal traditions of the Olmec culture, Mesoamerica’s first civilization and the originator of an ancestral sign system from which all later Mesoamerican writing developed. The Corpus assembles a database of Formative period (ca. 1500-400 BCE) Mesoamerican iconography and writing in a digital catalog accessible via intuitive and interactive web and mobile applications. This suite of digital research tools, including an innovative visual-input search tool, are targeted to a broad range of users, from academic researchers to K-12 teachers and students. These tools allow users to compare, analyze, and visualize relationships among a broad corpus of visual data, archaeological materials, and conceptual information. We envision the educational reach of The Mesoamerican Corpus of Formative Period Art and Writing surpassing the presentation of essays and static visual data to allow for the dynamic search, visualization, and investigation of a corpus of material currently only partially available in scattered sources with restricted access, such as small, regional Mexican museums.