Saturday, April 21, 2012

Frontiers of Anthropology: Cultural Diffusion by David Kelley

Frontiers of Anthropology: Cultural Diffusion by David Kelley

Cultural Diffusion by David Kelley

I have been holding off on this information for a while because I have the originals at home and no way to get hardcopy files scanned to the blogs at present. But David Kelley is an author who added a very informative second section onto Hugh Moran's book The Alphabet and the Ancient Calendar Signs (1969), and in that he not only discusses the correspondances which follow here, he also notes that the same correspondances involve the ancient Indian, Tamil and Indonesian zodiacs. That means that all of these South Asian zodiacs are also related to the Chinese one, a point which was actually more important for my own arrangement for TransPacific cultural diffusion.
[ PDF Link for review article of Moran and Kelley's book: ]

In this case the basic idea has been around for long enough. Donnelly speaks of it in his book on Atlantis on page 151: [Alexander Von] Humbolt, whose high authority cannot be questioned, by an elaborate discussion ("Vues des Cordilleras" p. 148 et seq., 1870), has shown the relative likeness of the Nahua (Aztec) calendar to that of Asia. He cites the fact that the Chinese, Japanese,Calmucks,Mongols, Manchu and the other hordes of Tartary have cycles of sixty years' duration, each divided into five brief periods of twelve years each. The method of citing a date by sign and number is quite similar with Asiatics and Mexicans. He further shows satisfactorily that the majority of the names of the twenty days employed by the Aztecs are those of a zodiac used since the most remote antiquity among the peoples of East Asia.

Aztec Day-Signs

Mayan Equivalents Below.

Chinese Animal Signs

In the case of the book involving Hugh Moran this same calendar is linked also to Mesopotamia and the ancient Mid-East, and to the origins of our (Phoenicia) Alphabet.


David B. Kelley

Showa Boston Institute

1997 by David B. Kelley. All rights reserved.


The following discussion addresses certain issues connected with the theory of cultural diffusion. Because my recent work has focussed on the problem of parallelism in the cultural artifacts of China and Mesoamerica, I emphasize those two areas of the world. However, much of what I mention is also meant to apply to similar issues, involving all cultural areas. I would also like to mention that, although the views expressed below are rather limited in their scope (and are all my own, except where other sources are noted), there are a number of web sites dealing with the same topic, in much more depth and with greater expertise. Among my favorites is the one maintained by Wallace Gray (Southwestern College, Winfield, Kansas, U.S.A.). You may wish to click HERE to visit his "Plott Project" site and read some excerpts from the writings of the philosopher, John C. Plott, as well as Prof. Gray's own writings about diffusion. All of the analyses of Chinese, Aztec, and Maya data appearing on this page were originally presented in my 1996 paper. As in the original paper, the major source for the Chinese data is a Chinese-English dictionary by Mathews, with all reconstructed Chinese forms obtained from Gakken's Chinese-Japanese dictionary. The major sources of Aztec and Maya data are books by Thompson; Kelley; Moran and Kelley; and Sharer. Unfortunately, in this limited discussion, I can present only a limited selection of my comparative data on the Chinese and Maya number symbols and words (in the Endnotes section), and no data on a possible correlation of the starting points of the Chinese and Maya calendar systems, which were presented and discussed in my 1996 paper. That 1996 paper followed the publication of a series of three other papers on the Chinese lunar mansion system and its possible relationship to calendrical and astronomical systems in various parts of the world.

The Roots of Mesoamerican Civilization Lie in Mesoamerica
After some years of comparing certain elements of the cultures of China and Mesoamerica, I have come to the personal conclusion that they are basically unrelated, with emphasis being placed on the word "basically." The rather obvious differences in the languages, religions, systems of mathematics, writing systems, calendric systems, and numerous other manifestations of culture, have forced me to that conclusion. Such differences imply that the "bases" of the civilizations are completely different, as well. And so, at the very beginning of this section on cultural diffusion, I want to make myself perfectly clear. Not all people who consider themselves to be proponents of cultural diffusion, especially those whose research is focussed on Mesoamerican civilization, and the question of whether or not diffusion of cultural elements into the Americas from outside the Americas ever occurred, believe that the roots of Mesoamerican civilization lie outside Mesoamerica. Quite the contrary, to me and a number of other diffusionists, they can not but lie firmly in Mesoamerica, itself.
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