In this fascinating biography, the first ever published about Alfred Maudslay (1850-1931), Ian Graham describes this extraordinary Englishman and his pioneering investigations of the ancient Maya ruins.
Maudslay, the grandson of a famous English inventor and engineer, spent his formative adult years in the South Seas as a junior official in Great Britain's Colonial Office. Despite his exotic experiences, he did not find his true vocation until the age of thirty-one, when he arrived in Guatemala.
Maudslay played a crucial role in exploring and documenting the monuments and architecture of the ancient Maya ruins at Palengue Copï¿½n, Chichï¿½n Itzï¿½, and other sites previously unknown. His photographs and plaster casts have proven to be invaluable in the deciphering of Maya hieroglyphics. Personal resources allowed him to undertake fieldwork at a time when no institution provided such support. He made plaster casts of large stone monuments, accurate maps of sites, and painstaking recordings of inscriptions. His Biologia Centrali-Americana, a multivolume compendium of photographs, drawings, plans, and text published almost a century ago, remains an essential foundation for Maya studies. Perhaps Maudslay's greatest legacy is magnificent collection of glass-negative photographs, many of which are reproduced in this book.