Thursday, January 20, 2011

Colonial Drawings of Mexican Archaeological Sites

It seems that Mexican and European scholars and artists who toured Mexico's pre-Conquest sites began making careful drawings of them in the 1600s, recording structures and features that have been destroyed, and details of surviving monuments that are no longer visible. The drawings above were made by Francisco Agüera y Bustamante in the mid 18th century. Many of these drawings are in archives scattered across Europe. Now Mexican archaeologist Leonardo Lopez Lujan has embarked on a major project to collect copies of all these renderings, which sounds to me like a marvelous sort of research to be doing. I regularly point out that a huge amount of archaeological information is buried in the unpublished notes of past archaeologists, and in unexamined collections, so work like Lopez Lujan's is not only fascinating but quite important.

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