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The name “Chichen Itza” is known from the earliest recorded Spanish accounts —such as Diego de Landa ‘s— of these local inhabitants, for whom the site had long been a place of pilgrimage and ceremony. It had been known to Europeans since the first recorded visits by the 16th century conquistadores.

University of New Mexico Press. I sometimes received his Univ. Government had a keen interest. The net research result of their excavations revealed Chichen Itza to be an unusual mixture of building styles: Morley gave Merriam a tour of the area he believed would be best for excavation and restoration, a mound complex then known as the Group of One Thousand Columns which included the Temple of Warriors.

In his autobiography, the Spanish professor noted the effect of this name change and subsequent confusion:. They selected an area within what appeared to be the central plaza of the site, where the capitals of some columns lay exposed. However, recent research from the mids onwards has now questioned this orthodoxy, to the point where many now hold an actual invasion did not take place, but the similarities in style are largely due to cultural diffusion and trade, and that in fact there is evidence that the diffusion in this period flowed in both directions.

Morley and the World of the Ancient Mayas.

Jean Charlot at Chichen Itza”. Pre-Columbian Art Research Institute. His directorship over all of the Institute’s activities in the Maya region civliizacion ran into difficulty. This view became the prevailing one for the next several decades. However, the bulk of the texts and inscriptions still defied all attempts at decipherment, despite much concerted effort.

The chronology of Chichen Itza continues to be a source of debate, and the hoped-for answers to the mystery of the Classic Maya decline elusive wholesale “Mexicanisation” by invading forces ruled out by the lack of these indicators in the central and southern sites.

For some later Maya researchers, ” Carnegie Institution of Washington. His publications are now generally superseded, except for his calendrical compilations. The name chich’en itza in civilizacio Yukatek orthography means roughly “mouth of the well of the Itza “, the “well” being the nearby Sacred Cenote water-filled sylfanus and “Itza” being the name of the people who were reputed to be its former inhabitants.


In December the board announced it was seeking proposals for an appropriate project; three proposals were submitted, including one from Morley to explore and excavate Chichen Itza. It is now accepted that other societies such as the Zapotec and Olmec preceded that of the Maya and the influences—such as development of writing and the Mesoamerican calendars —were rather the other way mata even in the later stages of Maya history, their region came under significant influences drawn from central Mexico, such as the Toltec “invasion”.


The Ancient Maya 5th, fully revised and enlarged ed. The convincing evidence which was to overturn this view became known only after Morley’s death, starting with Yuri Knorozov ‘s work in the s. Other ideas Morley put forward include the proposal that the ancient Maya were the first in Mesoamerica to domesticate maize Zea mays ssp.

This post offered Thompson far greater freedom and diversity for his research. He had particular talents in communicating his fascination for the subject to a sylvanuus audience, and in his lifetime became quite widely known as perhaps the quintessential model of an early 20th-century Central American scholar and explorer, complete with his ever-present pith helmet.

The Carnegie Institution at Morley’s urging accordingly hired Thompson, and he soon found himself at work in Chichen Itza, involved with its architectural reconstruction for which task Thompson had no particular qualifications. Sylvanus duly enrolled in a civil engineering degree at PMC, graduating in Thompson had studied Morley’s work and from that taught himself Maya calendricswhich were a particular passion for Morley. See also the Maya script article.

In they discovered an older structure underneath this latter, which they called the “Temple of the Chacmool” after a further example found of this distinctive statuary. Archived from the original on This second Sylvanus G. Inat the urging of executive committee member William Barclay Parsonsthe Carnegie Institution announced it would fund a department of anthropology.

American Anthropological Association and affiliated societies. He also published several large compilations and treatises on Maya hieroglyphic writingand wrote popular accounts on the Maya for a general audience. Over the next decades other Mayanists such as Proskouriakoff, Michael D. Later evidence suggested that the actual year of this invasion wasand identified its leader with a legendary Toltec ruler called Topiltzin Ce Acatl Quetzalcoatl after the Mesoamerican deity Quetzalcoatl K’ulk’ulkan in Yucatec.

His talent was not so much to make innovations, but rather to publicise and explain the workings of the various systems. As far as Morley’s own research is concerned, its reputation for soundness and quality has been downgraded somewhat in the light of recent reappraisals; [35] yet he is still regarded as an important contributor to the field.


Catalog Record: La civilización maya | Hathi Trust Digital Library

Consequently, most of Morley’s attempts to advance understanding of the Maya script have been superseded. Morley also conducted espionage in Mexico on behalf of the United States during World War I, but the may of those activities only came to light well after his death. Kidderand Morley was left to concentrate on Chichen Itza. Apart from the archaeological investigations which were the main purpose of the Carnegie programme’s efforts under Morley, the programme also sponsored the undertaking of comparative field research on modern Yucatec Maya communities.

Since most of these inscription dates at the site were recorded in an abbreviated form known as the “Short Count”, which only identified an event within a span of about years, it was difficult to pin down in which civilziacion span an event referred to in the inscriptions occurred. The Mexican government was already at work restoring the massive pyramid, El Castillo.

These ideas which Thompson’s later work would develop to its fullest extent are now extensively modified, and although astronomical and calendric observations were clearly important to the Maya, the people themselves are now seen in more historical, realistic terms—concerned also with dynastic succession, political conquests, and the lives and achievements of actual personages.

In his day, Morley was widely regarded as one of the leading figures in Maya scholarship, in authority perhaps second only to Eric Thompson, whose views he mostly shared.

Sylvanus Morley – Wikipedia

Nevertheless, although he “detested” the jungle conditions, he persevered in his work with evident enthusiasm. As his later work proved, Morley was also a genuine scholar and archaeologist with an abiding interest in the region.

Morley made extensive excavations of the Maya site of Chichen Itza that he directed on behalf of the Carnegie Institution. After the assignment Morley went to work permanently for the SAA, and over the next several years alternated his fieldwork assignments between the Southwest, and Mexico and Central America.

By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. The Sacred and the Profane: Many Mayan scholars and archaeologists had their first research opportunity and employment under Morley’s tutelage working on the various Carnegie projects.