Archive for the ‘History of archaeology’ Category

Title page of doctoral dissertation.

Title page of doctoral dissertation.

Lorena Careaga V

Lorena Careaga V.

A new doctoral dissertation of note: “Invaders, explorers and travelers: Everyday life in Yucatán from another perspective, 1834-1906” by Dr. Lorena Careaga. Careaga, a professor and director of the library at the Universidad del Caribe in Yucatán, recently completed a multi-year study of how life was lived in Yucatán, Mexico during the Caste War that pitted the Maya against the central government of Mexico for more than a half century.

Bibliographic reference:

Lorena Careaga, “Invasores, exploradores y viajeros: la vida cotidiana en Yucatán desde la óptica del otro, 1834-1906” [“Invaders, explorers and travelers: Everyday life in Yucatán from another perspective, 1834-1906”], Ph.D. Dissertation, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Facultad de Filosofía y Letras, México, February 2015.


This doctoral dissertation summarizes and critically reviews the life and work of 30 men and 3 women from outside of Mexico who traveled through Yucatán between 1834 and 1906 as explorers, expeditionary photographers, war correspondents, mercenaries, government representatives, military officers, merchants, artists and naturalists, and who left published accounts of their travels, as well as their personal appraisal of everyday life during the revolt of the Maya against the government of Mexico called the Caste War of Yucatán. The dissertation also assesses the contribution of nineteenth century travelers in Yucatán to the then developing fields of archaeology, anthropology with special emphasis on Maya ethnography.

While there are numerous studies about nineteenth century foreign travelers to Mexico, in the case of the Yucatán Peninsula this dissertation fills two important research gaps. The first is travelers’ reports of everyday life in general, and in particular, how life was lived during the Caste War while under a permanent threat of attack. Analyzed and placed in historical context are travelers’ first hand descriptions of everyday life in times of conflict, and the effects of warfare on Yucatecan life.

Secondly, most bibliographic compilations list only fifteen foreign travelers to the Yucatán Peninsula from 1834 to 1906. Some important observers were left out because their theories and opinions were considered unacceptable, and others were overlooked because their writings were not translated. This dissertation presents a comprehensive and systematic study of all thirty-three foreign travelers.

Finally, Careaga compares and contrasts photographs, drawings, maps, engravings, vocabularies, and other documentary materials produced by travelers, explorers, and expeditionary photographers, and assesses their contribution to our knowledge of life in Yucatán during this period of revolutionary conflict.


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Weird-Fantastic-Astounding. Find the answer in HAIG.

Weird-Fantastic-Astounding, but all in a day’s work for an archaeologist.

The Society for American Archaeology History of Archaeology Interest Group Newsletter can now be read online. Professor Bernard K. Means, editor of the newsletter, has a particular interest in the New Deal archaeology carried out in the 1930s during the Great Depression. Like everyone else in the 1930s, literally hundreds of archaeologists were out of work, and received funding along with artists, photographers, and musicians to carry out their research.

But, more than WPA funded archaeology, Means publishes articles on lesser-known pioneers in archaeology such Americanist Zelia Nuttall. An in-depth review of the Ross Parmenter (1911-1999) biography of Nuttall (1500 pages and unpublished) by graduate student Peter Diderich at Rostock University in Germany is an example of the newsletter’s excellent coverage of the field (see the January 7, 2014 Archaeoplanet.blog posting). Another important feature of the newsletter is: “Recent and Noteworthy Publications.” It’s indispensable for anyone trying to keep up with the flood of material being published about the history of archaeology.

Means announced in the November issue of the newsletter that “HAIG” will meet at 1PM on April 25th during the annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology in Austin, Texas.

Issues of the Newsletter back to 2011 can be accessed at: http://www.saa.org/HistoryofArchaeologyInterestGroup/tabid/1434/Default.aspx

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