S. C. Compton is a North Carolinian historian, but has spent a number of years in Peru, Guatemala and the Middle East. He has come up with a fascinating and compelling theory on the origins of the Olmec of Mexico, a civilization which appeared in the tropical lowlands of south-central Mexico, in the present-day states of Veracruz and Tabasco. They prospered in Mesoamerica from c. 1200 BCE to c. 400 BCE and are generally considered the forerunner of all subsequent Mesoamerican cultures such as the Maya and Aztecs.
The Olmecs are the ones with those huge head sculptures that are about twice the height of a person. The first time I was aware of them was at a park in Cuidad Vallee which had two. But when you tapped them, they made a metallic ring. hahaha They were copies made out of metal. But that was my introduction to the Olmecs.
Mr. Compton’s well-researched theory is that they were influenced by the Egyptians. Yeah. No, really. He makes a wonderful case for this. He starts with showing how there definitely was sea travel back in that time and even earlier across the Atlantic, so contact was possible.
He examines the issue of dye, royal purple, which was made ONLY from a certain sea snail, and smelled bad. Found in both Egyptian and Phoenician clothes, and on the remnants of cloth found in Olmec excavations, which it still smelled!
There is the case of the written language, a combination of hieroglyphics and alphabet glyphs, common to both, religious rituals in common, and architecture.
Even more specifically, he believes that the connection is with the Hyksos, who ruled between Egypt’s 14th and 16th dynasties. And even more specifically, with the Nubians, (now modern Sudan), where commonalities are found in abundance, with funereal practices, human and infant sacrifices, etc.
It is absolutely fascinating, and beautifully written. It is not dryly academic but very accessible as he adds topic after topic to support his theory. Just a great book, so if you have any interest in history, in the history of Mesoamerica, I highly recommend this book.