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No. 83: Sep-Oct 1992

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On Cuna Writing And Its Affinities

sample of Cuna 'writing'
A sample of Cuna "writing"
When Europeans "officially" reached the New World some 500 years ago, the "official" account states that they found that only the Mayans and Aztecs possessed writing. However, all anomalists recognize that "official" stories often sweep untidy facts under what has come to be an immense rug. One seldom mentioned and rather awkward bump beneath this rug is Cuna writing. The Cuna Indians occupied Panama and some nearby Caribbean islands at the Time of Contact. That the Cuna carved symbols of sorts on wooden boards and scribbled with natural pigments on bark cloth and paper is generally admitted, but this is not considered in the same league as Mayan writing.

sample of Easter Island 'writing'
A sample of Easter Island "writing" from a talking board
Cuna writing is ideographic. Today's average Cuna Indian can usually identify each ideogram as a bird, plant, or some other object. However, to those skilled in Cuna writing, each ideogram actually represents a phrase of about 8-10 words. The symbols thus have mnemonic value. Each wooden tablet is actually read from the lower right corner to the left. The next line up reads left to right, in socalled "boustrophedon" style. The tablets are usually songs for healing, histories, etc.

In these features and general appearance, Cuna writing resembles the "writing" found on the "talking boards" of Easter Island, which in turn seem to have affinities with the ancient script of the Indus Valley in India. To a diffusionist, these affinities or similarities can only mean that pre-Columbian contacts may have occurred between ancient India, Easter Island, and Panama! Such precocious voyages are not considered possible by mainstream archeologists.

(Carter, George F., and Case, James; "On Cuna Writing," Epigraphic Society, Occasional Papers, 20:232, 1991.)

From Science Frontiers #83, SEP-OCT 1992. 1992-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987