Archive for the ‘History’ 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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The Absent Stone posterLa Piedra Ausente (The Absent Stone)

Showing date and time: September 27, 2013 – 6:30pm

Where: KORET AUDITORIUM, de Young Museum, San Francisco.

General Information:

La Piedra Ausente (The Absent Stone) (Dir: Sandra Rozental and Jesse Lerner, 2012, 80 min., in Spanish with English subtitles), presented in partnership with the SF Latino Film Festival

NOTE: Directors Sandra Rozental and Jesse Lerner will host a question-and-answer session following the film.

Ticket Information: Free tickets are available in front of the Koret Auditorium beginning at 5:30 pm. No advance reservations necessary. Seating begins at 6 pm.

For additional information and updates please go to the web page of the de Young Museum: http://deyoung.famsf.org/deyoung/calendar/film-screening-la-piedra-ausente-absent-stone

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I just published a memoir; well I should say the book was self-published. It was a great experience learning how to design my own book, and since I made lots of revisions it was nice having the total control. But, why post a notice of a book about my life in the Coast Guard on a blog dedicated to the archaeology and culture of Mesoamerica?

Here is the background— In the late 1950s I was a young officer assigned to the Coast Guard Cutter Avoyel near Eureka, California. We carried out search-and-rescue missions, and the bringing of crews and supplies to St. George Reef Lighthouse six miles off the coast from Crescent City, California.

St. George Reef Lighthouse, and small boat from Cutter Avoyel. Pic: Desmond 1959

Around 1959, a new officer named Walt Hake arrived for duty, and he andI became good friends. I was single, and it was pretty isolated being on two-hour standby status in a small logging and fishing town six hours north of San Francisco. So Walt and his wife Dorothy, and their four kids more-or-less adopted me. It was great for my morale being an honorary member of their family, and joining them for dinners and other family events.

Coast Guard Cutter Avoyel leaving San Francisco Bay. Pic: Coast Guard. 1959.

This is where archaeology comes in— “One day Walt and I were in the ship’s wardroom doing some paperwork, and Walt mentioned that he’d just gotten a letter from a friend who was going to school in Mexico City. She had written him about the classes in archaeology she was taking at Mexico City College, and for some reason he thought I should read it. I did, and that letter changed the course of my life. Then and there I began to think seriously about studying archaeology. I was in no position to make any changes, but in 1970 I enrolled in the very college Walt’s friend had written about.” (From the Desmond book: Blue Water and Rocky Lights. My life in the U.S. Coast Guard– 1957-1960. Available from Blurb, 2012)

I then wrote Walt’s friend a couple letters and she sent me information on Mexico City College, stories about her courses and adventures, and with that I was hooked on going to school in Mexico. As many of you know, the greats of archaeology taught at Mexico City College in those days. When I began my studies in Mexico in 1970, Mexico City College had morphed into the Universidad de las Américas and moved to Puebla. I attended UDLA for three years and got my MA in anthropology—it was one of best decisions of my life.

However, the story does not end here. During the 1960s I was working in Silicon Valley, and while no longer on active duty I was in the Coast Guard Reserve. In 1966, I heard that the Cutter Gresham’s destination for a two-week training cruise was Mazatlán, so I signed up. Oddly, while I had already decided to go to school in Mexico, I had never been there—well, maybe that is how 20 year olds do things!

Lt Lawrence G. Desmond on watch as CGC Gresham approaches Mazatlán harbor. 1966.

A couple days ashore in Mazatlán: “Since I couldn’t speak much Spanish, I found an English speaking Mexican student who showed me the highlights of the city. I met his family, and he took me to a couple nearby villages where people were making small painted animal figures and pottery for the tourists. I convinced him to drive me to some archaeological ruins located a few miles down the coast. While they turned out to be no more than small mounds, seeing them gave my plans for a career in archaeology a big boost.” (From the Desmond book: Blue Water and Rocky Lights. My life in the U.S. Coast Guard– 1957-1960. Available from Blurb, 2012)

Those few days in Mazatlán also motivated me to take a course in Spanish later that year in Mexico City, and after that I spent a week checking out the archaeology in northern Mexico. I was really motivated, so between jobs in 1967 I flew again to Mexico City, and hitched a ride to Yucatán with a buddy to see the ancient Maya ruins first hand, and the rest is history.

So, who was the woman who had written the life changing letter? Well, a few years ago I began to wonder, but had waited too long. Walt and Dorothy had died. And, while I tracked down their family, they had never heard of any connection their parents had with Mexico, so it will have to remain an unsolved mystery.

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 A Critique of the Wikipedia Augustus Le Plongeon article

Lawrence G. Desmond, PhD

Wikipedia published the following statement about its Augustus Le Plongeon article:

This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. Please help to improve this article by introducing more precise citations where appropriate (April 2009). (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augustus_Le_Plongeon)

Background on Augustus and Alice Dixon Le Plongeon

The problem—The biggest difficulty for historians of archaeology in any study of the Le Plongeons is distinguishing fact from fiction in writings about the Le Plongeons. Published material abounds that has not been fact checked, so it is important that references be provided.

And much published secondary source material is out of date. It is suggested that authors consult the recently acquired papers of Alice Dixon Le Plongeon archived at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles. In that collection are also additional papers of Augustus Le Plongeon previously unavailable.

Augustus Le Plongeon’s (1826-1908) close collaboration with Alice Dixon Le Plongeon (1851-1910)

The article should more fully explain the professional collaboration of Augustus and Alice Le Plongeon. Alice was responsible for the Le Plongeons’ photographic darkroom work, and was behind the camera for a good part of their photography in Yucatán. She co-directed with Augustus the excavation of the Platform of Venus, and the excavation of the Platform of the Eagles and Jaguars at Chichén Itzá. The Le Plongeons jointly developed archaeological theories about the ancient Maya, and Alice edited virtually all of Augustus’ letters and published worksThe collaboration of Alice and Augustus in photography and archaeology, and their development of theories about ancient Maya civilization are brought up to date in: Yucatan through her eyes. Alice Dixon Le Plongeon, writer and expeditionary photographer (2009). Scholarly reviews of the biography provide additional perspectives and can be accessed on ArchaeoPlanet Blog (https://archaeoplanet.wordpress.com/).

Alice Dixon Le Plongeon’s place in Maya studies has recently been noted by a number of scholars including emeritus professor of anthropology James R. McGoodwin at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

“[The book Yucatán through her eyes] is special and rare precisely because it is about a woman carving out her place in a realm heretofore thought to be inhabited only by rugged men wearing pith helmets and tall leather boots, sitting at their writing tables amid the ruins and smoking their pipes. Move over Stephens, Catherwood, Maudslay, Thompson, Morley, and all the other Old School Mayanists, and make room for Alice Dixon!” [James R. McGoodwin, Review dated: August 24, 2011.]

Critique of the article

Summary: The Wikipedia article requires a number of corrections, and needs to be brought up to date. Words in Spanish should include accent marks.


The Wikipedia article states:

“Le Plongeon has been identified as an early practitioner of psychic archaeology and his wife Alice Dixon Le Plongeon had an avid interest in mesmerism, séance, and the occult.”

Correction: Augustus Le Plongeon was an early Maya archaeologist, Americanist or Mayanist. 

Reference: The statement that Augustus was an “early practitioner of psychic archaeology” requires a reference.

Explanation needed: The historical development and practice of “psychic archaeology” for the periods “early” to current should be summarized, as should be the archaeological methodology practiced by Augustus and Alice at Chichén Itzá and Uxmal.

Reference: The statement that Alice had an “avid interest in Mesmerism… and the occult” requires a reference.

Correction: Alice was a practicing Spiritualist, and attended Spiritualist séances that were popular in America and England after the mid-nineteenth century.

The Wikipedia article states:

“In general, his [Augustus’] theories were considered to be somewhat outlandish by near-contemporaries and later Mayanist scholars such as Désiré Charnay, Teobert Maler, and Alfred Maudslay, and he is regarded today as one of the more eccentric characters to have worked in the field.”

Correction: Désiré Charnay (1828-1915) was a contemporary of the Le Plongeons and not a “later Mayanist.” He carried out photographic projects in México in the 1860s and during the time the Le Plongeons worked in Yucatán. In the 1860s during the French intervention, and after, etchings of his photographs were used to illustrate his popular books on the ancient ruins of México.

Correction: Désiré Charnay was not a “Mayanist scholar” or member of the academy, and was refused an academic appointment in Paris. He was an expeditionary photographer, explorer, and writer.

Explanation: In 1885, Daniel Brinton (1837-1899), professor of archaeology and linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania, wrote that the discoveries of the Le Plongeons “correct, in various instances, the hasty deductions of Charnay…” (American Antiquarian 1885:378). In his diary, Alfred Maudslay (1850-1931) wrote Désiré Charnay “does not strike me as a scientific traveler,” and “was thirsting for glory” (Ian Graham, Alfred Maudslay, 2002:102). Maudslay was equally negative concerning Charnay’s writings about the Maya. Both Brinton and Maudslay strongly disagreed with the Le Plongeons’ theory that Maya civilization was older than Egypt civilization.

Correction: Scholar, photographer, and archaeologist Teobert Maler (1842-1917) was a contemporary of the Le Plongeons. He was in México in the 1870s, and again in the 1880s after the Le Plongeons departed, and carried out important site documentation, photography, and archaeological analysis published by the Peabody Museum at Harvard University.

Correction: Alfred Maudslay (1850-1931) was a contemporary of the Le Plongeons and investigated the Maya city of Yaxchilán, Chiapas, México when the Le Plongeons were in Yucatán. He continued his work in the Maya area for many years after the Le Plongeons departed in 1884.

Reference: A reference is needed for the statement: “[Augustus] is regarded today as one of the more eccentric characters to have worked in the field.”

Omission of Alice Dixon Le Plongeon: Alice Dixon Le Plongeon’s contribution to the theory that the ancient Maya founded Egyptian civilization has been omitted. Alice and Augustus collaborated closely in the development of that theory.

The Wikipedia article states:

“However, as a pioneer in producing photographic records of Maya sites and inscriptions, Le Plongeon’s works and images retain at least a curio value to later researchers and in several cases preserve the appearance of sites and objects that were subsequently damaged.”

Contradiction: In its introductory paragraph, the article states that Augustus Le Plongeon’s photographs have “curio value.” Further on in a section titled “Theories and later career” the assessment is changed to: “… his over 500 photos still remain an important contribution to American archaeology.”

Reference: The many published articles by the Le Plongeons about photography, and articles about the Le Plongeons’ photography can be quoted and referenced.

Correction: The total number of Le Plongeon photographs may be as many as 700. A Le Plongeon photo album, part of the Fundación Cultural Televisa collection and titled Yucatán ilustrado. Ruinas, México, 1876, has been recently been put on exhibit. It has 101 prints made by Alice Dixon Le Plongeon and is currently under study.

Background: The Le Plongeons took hundreds of stereo 3-D photographs of Maya archaeological sites, ethnographic subjects, and landscapes in Yucatán and Belize from 1873 to 1884. The Le Plongeons’ photographs were made using wet collodion glass plate negatives with a long tonal range, and the photos are the first systematic and detailed record of Chichén Itzá and Uxmal. Their architectural photos are useful to art historians, architects, and building conservators for analysis. They are also used for 3-D close-range photogrammetric analysis to generate scaled architectural drawings. Their photos of Belize may be the first taken in that ex-British colony. There are approximately 2,500 Le Plongeon photographic prints archived in public and private collections.

The Wikipedia article states:

“Le Plongeon was born on the island of Jersey on May 4, 1825. He attended and graduated from Ecole Polytechnique in Paris.”

Correction: Augustus Le Plongeon was born May 4, 1826.

Correction: Augustus Le Plongeon did not graduate from l’Ecole Polytechnique in Paris, and there is no record of his attendance.

The Wikipedia article states:

“While in London he [Augustus] met and married Alice Dixon…”

Correction: Augustus married Alice Dixon in New York in 1873.

The Wikipedia article states:

“Augustus Le Plongeon also had the opportunity to learn the technology of creating photographic negatives directly from the father of modern photography, William Fox Talbot in 1873.”

Correction: Augustus learned new photographic methods from William Henry Fox Talbot in 1851.

The Wikipedia article states:

“After he had made what he considered to be a complete comparative study of Maya and Egyptian religion, linguistics, and architecture, he [Augustus] concluded that Maya culture had been diffused throughout Southeast Asia by Maya travelers who then went on to the lost continent of Atlantis and subsequently the Middle East to found Egyptian civilization.”

Correction and clarification: Over a period of 30 years Augustus and Alice Dixon Le Plongeon proposed a number of routes that Maya “colonists” might have taken to the Nile Valley. One route was to Southeast Asia, then through South Asia, and into the Middle East ending in the Nile Valley; a second route was across the Atlantic Ocean; a third proposed the Maya traveled from Yucatán to the continent of Atlantis and continued on to the Nile Valley; and a fourth proposed that the Maya were actually Atlantans and separate groups of Atlantan-Maya migrated from Atlantis to Yucatán and to the Nile Valley. Alice Dixon Le Plongeon put forward the latter migration route after Augustus’ death and wrote an epic poem, A Dream of Atlantis (The Word magazine 1909-11) in which she presents Maya life in Atlantis and its destruction.

The Wikipedia article states:

“While most archaeologists of the early and mid-nineteenth century thought Maya civilization postdated Egyptian civilization, the chronologies were still relatively uncertain and Le Plongeon’s theory found some adherents.”


“By the 1880s, while other Mayanists fully accepted that the Maya postdated Ancient Egypt, Le Plongeon refused to yield to the new findings.”

Correction: During the 19th century most scholars assumed that Maya civilization postdated Egypt, but there was little archaeological evidence to support that hypothesis. It was not until the 1930s that scholars were finally able to say with certainty that Maya civilization developed later than Egyptian civilization.

Explanation: In the late 19th century, once the Egyptian hieroglyphic system was deciphered dating of Egyptian civilization soon followed. The first step in the development of a chronology for Maya civilization was the use of archaeological stratigraphy to determine its age relative to the other major civilizations of Mesoamerica. A relative chronology was delineated during the first decades of the 20th century. During the same period, scholars worked to decipher the Maya calendric system. By the mid-1930s the Maya calendar was understood and correlated with the Julian calendar. Scholars were then able to say with certainty that Maya civilization reached its zenith during the Common Era (CE) and postdated Egypt. After World War II, C-14 and thermal luminescence dating provided absolute dates for many additional aspects of Maya civilization.

The Wikipedia article states:

“He [Augustus] named kings and queens of these dynasties, and said that various artworks were portraits of such ancient royalty (such as the famous Chacmool, which was excavated by Le Plongeon at Chichen Itza). He and his wife reconstructed a detailed but fanciful story of Queen Moo and Prince Coh (also known as “Chac Mool”) in which Prince Coh’s death resulted in the erection of monuments in his honor ….”

Omission of Alice Dixon Le Plongeon: Alice Dixon Le Plongeon was a major contributor to what the Le Plongeons’ believed to be an historical account of the lives of Maya Queen Móo and Prince Coh (aka Chacmool).

Explanation: The Le Plongeons’ history of the Maya was one generation in depth, and was based on the iconography they found on buildings at Chichén Itzá and Uxmal. Like most archaeologists of the 19th century, the Le Plongeons had almost no knowledge of the subsurface cultural stratigraphy of Yucatán or the Nile Valley. Once the stratigraphy was excavated in the 20th century a long period of development that preceded the civilizations observed on the surface was revealed. But, lacking knowledge of a developmental sequence, the only conclusion possible for the Le Plongeons was that civilization had to have come to Yucatán and to the Nile Valley fully developed.

The Wikipedia article states:

“Le Plongeon wrote that the sites of the central lowlands were not Maya at all, but were built by a different people much later than the sites of Yucatán. For example, he attributed the construction of Palenque to people from Polynesia.”

Correction: Palenque is not located in the central Maya lowlands.

Reference: A reference is needed for the statement “he attributed the construction of Palenque to people from Polynesia.”

Explanation: Alice and Augustus studied Frederick Catherwood’s illustrations of Maya central lowland sculpture and iconography as well as the photos and drawings of other scholars including Alfred Maudslay. They rightly argued that the style of architecture, hieroglyphs, and iconography at Yaxchilán, and other sites in that region was different from northern Yucatán. But, they were unable to accept a broader geographical range for Maya civilization that incorporated local cultural variation because their theory of Maya civilization and its diffusion to the Nile Valley excluded all art and architecture that did not conform to the art and architecture of Northern Yucatán.


Published books and papers about Augustus and Alice Dixon Le Plongeon by Lawrence G. Desmond, Ph.D.

Note: The full text of all materials listed in this bibliography (excluding Augustus Le Plongeon: Early Maya archaeologist and Yucatán through her eyes) can be read at:   http://maya.csueastbay.edu/archaeoplanet/

Books, doctoral dissertation, catalog of photographs

1983  Augustus Le Plongeon: Early Maya Archaeologist. Doctoral dissertation.  Department of Anthropology, University of Colorado, Boulder. Ann Arbor: University Microfilms International, 3592.

1988  A Dream of Maya: Alice and Augustus Le Plongeon in Nineteenth Century Yucatán, University of New Mexico Press.  Co-authored by Phyllis M. Messenger.

2005  The nineteenth century photographs of Alice Dixon Le Plongeon and Augustus Le Plongeon.  A catalog of collections from: American Museum of Natural History, Donald Dixon Album, Getty Research Institute, Peabody Museum at Harvard University, Philosophical Research Society. Includes: Preface, Acknowledgements, Introduction to the Collections, 416 pages, and data entries for 1,054 images. Adobe PDF.

2009 Yucatán through her eyes.  Alice Dixon Le Plongeon–writer and expeditionary photographer. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.

Published papers

1988 Work in Progress: Enchanted Ground. In Mesoamerica: The Journal of Middle America, Vol. 1, No. 2, P. 10, Mérida, Yucatán, México.

1989 Augustus Le Plongeon and Alice Dixon Le Plongeon: Early Photographic Documentation at Uxmal, Yucatán, México. In Mesoamerica: The Journal of Middle America, Vol. 2, No. 1, pp. 27-31, Mérida, Yucatán, México.

1989 Augustus Le Plongeon and Alice Dixon: Early Fieldwork in the Puuc Region of Yucatán, México.  In, Juan Antonio Siller, Ed., Cuadernos en Arquitectura Mesoamericana, National Autonomous University of Mexico, Vol. 11, Series Arquitectura Maya No. 5, September, pp. 11-15.

1991 Registro fotogrametrico de la Pirámide del Adivino, Uxmal, Yucatán, México: Evaluación de campo, 1990.  In, Lorena Mirambell S., Ed., Consejo de Arqueología Boletín, Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, pp. 75-74.

1989 Of Facts and Hearsay: Bringing Augustus Le Plongeon into focus.  In, Andrew L. Christenson, Ed., Tracing Archaeology’s Past, Southern Illinois University Press, pp. 139-150.

1996 Rediscovery: Exploration and Documentation.  In, Jane Turner, Ed., The Dictionary of Art, Vol. 21, Part X, pp. 262-264.

1999 Augustus Le Plongeon: A fall from archaeological grace.  In Alice B. Kehoe and Mary Beth Emmerichs, Eds., Assembling the Past: Studies in the Professionalization of Archaeology, University of New Mexico University Press, pp. 81-90.

2001 Chacmool. In, David Carrasco, Ed., Oxford Encyclopedia of Mesoamerican Cultures, 3 Vols., New York, Oxford University Press, Vol.1, pp. 168-169.

2001 Augustus Le Plongeon (1826-1908): Early Mayanist, archaeologist, and photographer. In, David Carrasco, Ed., Oxford Encyclopedia of Mesoamerican Cultures, 3 Vols.,  New York, Oxford University Press, Vol. 2, pp. 117-118.

2001 Prologue by Lawrence G. Desmond and Jaime Litvak King to Spanish translation of Alice Dixon Le Plongeon’s book Here and There in Yucatan.  In, Aquí y Allá en Yucatán. translation by Stella Mastrangelo Puech. México: Mirada Viajera.

2007 A historical overview of recording architecture at the ancient Maya city of Uxmal, Yucatán (México), 1834 to 2007.  In, Philippe Della Casa and Elena Mango, Eds., Panorama: Imaging ruins of the Greek and Maya worlds.  Zurich: Archaeological Institute, University of Zurich, pp. 6-13.

2008 Excavation of the Platform of Venus, Chichén Itzá, Yucatán, México: The pioneering fieldwork of Alice Dixon Le Plongeon and Augustus Le Plongeon. In, Paul Schmidt Schoenberg, Edith Ortiz Díaz, Joel Santos Ramírez, Eds., Tributo a Jaime Litvak King. México: UNAM, Instituto de Investigaciones Antropológicas, pp. 155-165.

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The September 2011 (Vol. 1, No. 4) issue of the Society for American Archaeology’s Newsletter of the History of Archaeology Interest Grouphas just been posted on the web.  http://bit.ly/HAIGNews

It’s edited by Prof. Bernard K. Means at Virginia Commonwealth University, and is an important source for anyone working on the history of archaeology. 

For those with an interest in the photography of Augustus and Alice Dixon Le Plongeon or their personal papers please go to Page 3 of this issue of the Newsletter. On that page are annotated links to finding aides for the Le Plongeon photo collections and papers archived at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles, and the Wilson Library of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Another link on Page 3 is provided to access all my published papers on the history of archaeology, the Le Plongeons, and a text version of my out of the print book A Dream of Maya about Augustus Le Plongeon. And downloadable as a PDF is a catalog titled: The Nineteenth Century Photographs of Alice Dixon Le Plongeon and Augustus Le Plongeon. The catalog is 416 pages with data entries on each of the 1,054 Le Plongeon archaeological and ethnographic photos taken in Yucatán and Belize in 1870s and 1880s. You can find a link to the home page of ArchaeoPlanet web site on the side bar under Blog Roll. A link specifically to my papers on the history of archaeology and the Le Plongeons is: ArchaeoPlanet: Lawrence G. Desmond writings on the history of archaeology.

Editor Means, in addition to his archaeological field projects, has focused much of his research on the archaeology carried out under president Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal in the 1930s. The Newsletter keeps us up to date on developments on that area of his research.

In this issue he provides links to obituaries on the passing of the pioneer of the New Archaeology movement Louis Binford; French Egyptologist Christiane Desroches Nobelcourt who worked to save Egypt’s sites from the flooding of the Aswan Dam; and archaeologist Edmund S. Carpenter who led a crew of Seneca Indians employed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) during president Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal to excavate sites in Pennsylvania.

The Newsletter has the following in-depth articles and notes:

  • Histories of Archaeological Illustration.
  • GIS for New Deal Archaeology Update.
  • Recent or Noteworthy Publications.

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Opens September 8, 2011 at the Richard J. Riordan Central Library in Los Angeles, California.

Women ready to receive Ràbago / Horne
A Nation Emerges: The Mexican Revolution Revealed– Sept. 8, 2011–June 3, 2012. 
The Mexican Revolution (1910–20), which lasted a decade and transformed the nation, was extensively chronicled by Mexican, American, and European photographers and illustrators. Thousands of images captured a country at war. From postcards of the 1910 Fiesta del Centenario, to images of a war that was waged on several fronts by ever-shifting revolutionary factions, to photographs of the 1923 assassination of Pancho Villa, this exhibition chronicles this complex, multifaceted chapter in Mexico’s history.Organized by the Getty Research Institute with support from Edison International.

For directions and hours: Los Angeles Public Library, Central Library

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Church and State Education in Revolutionary Mexico City

Author: Patience A. Schell. Senior lecturer in Latin American Studies at Manchester University, UK.

Revolution in Mexico sought to subordinate church to state and push the church out of public life. Nevertheless, state and church shared a concern for the nation’s social problems. Until the breakdown of church-state cooperation in 1926, they ignored the political chasm separating them to address those problems through education in order to instill in citizens a new sense of patriotism, a strong work ethic, and adherence to traditional gender roles.

This book examines primary, vocational, private, and parochial education in Mexico City from 1917 to 1926, and shows how it was affected by the relations between the revolutionary state and the Roman Catholic Church. One of the first books to look at revolutionary programs in the capital immediately after the Revolution, it shows how government social reform and Catholic social action overlapped, and identifies clear points of convergence while also offering vivid descriptions of everyday life in revolutionary Mexico City. Comparing curricula and practice in Catholic and public schools, Patience Schell describes scandals and successes in classrooms throughout Mexico City. Her re-creation of day-to-day schooling shows how teachers, inspectors, volunteers, and priests, even while facing material shortages, struggled to educate Mexico City’s residents out of a conviction that they were transforming society. She also reviews broader federal and Catholic social action programs such as films, unionization projects, and libraries that sought to instill a new morality in the working class.

Finally, she situates education among larger issues that eventually divided church and state and examines the impact of the restrictions placed on Catholic education in 1926. Schell sheds new light on the common cause between revolutionary state education and Catholic tradition, and provides new insight into the wider issue of the relationship between the revolutionary state and civil society. As the presidency of Vicente Fox revives questions of church involvement in Mexican public life, her study provides a solid foundation for understanding the tenor and tenure of that age-old relationship.

Hardcover: 253 pages

University of Arizona Press


ISBN-10: 0816521980

ISBN-13: 978-0816521982


“A groundbreaking book . . . should be the standard on education and church-state relations in Mexico City for many years to come.” — William H. Beezley, co-editor, The Oxford History of Mexico.

“Particularly timely in light of the reemergence of Catholic Mexico after the stunning electoral victory of Vicente Fox.” — Adrian Bantjes, author of As If Jesus Walked on Earth: Cardenismo, Sonora, and the Mexican Revolution.

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