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UAlbany anthropologist receives a Guggenheim Fellowship to decipher clues to ancient languages.

From a North American candidate pool of more than 3,200 individuals, University at Albany linguistic anthropologist, John Justeson won a prestigious GuggenheimProfessor John S. Justeson Fellowship to research and co-author a book on the decipherment of epi-Olmec hieroglyphic writing. The epi-Olmecs inhabited the Gulf Coast of southern Mexico from 300 B.C. to A.D. 550.

In 1986 the Museum of Anthropology of the University of Veracruz recovered a four-ton rock slab that contained a long text written in the little-known epi-Olmec writing system. The language of this text was subsequently identified by Justeson and his writing partner, Terence Kaufman (University of Pittsburgh), as an ancestor of several indigenous languages of Mexico.

Professor Justeson has been a UAlbany faculty member since 1990 and is published widely on the languages of ancient cultures. His research areas include historical linguistics, language and prehistory, writing systems, and Mesoamerican languages and hieroglyphic writing. He is involved in comparative research on writing systems, case studies on particular languages and scripts, and computational linguistic research using multi-million-word text databases.

Epi-Olmec Logogram meaning "King""John Justesonís Guggenheim Fellowship is a well-deserved recognition of his outstanding research and scholarship," said UAlbany President Karen R. Hitchcock. "He is widely respected by his peers for the exceptional quality and originality of his research. His seminal scholarship has advanced his discipline and has contributed in a major way to the excellent environment for learning and discovery which defines UAlbany."

The Guggenheim Fellowships are given by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, founded by former United States Senator and Mrs. Simon Guggenheim in memory of their son. Since 1925 the Foundation has granted some $220 million in Fellowships to more than 15,200 individuals. Recipients are selected on the basis of distinguished achievement in the past and exceptional promise for future accomplishment.

For a full list of 2003 Fellows, visit John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

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