Sat, 29 June 2019
Get the book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07TN7ZTXR/
Two friends sailed to Central America in 1839 looking for evidence of a lost civilization. Their journey took them through countries torn by civil war and controlled by bandits and rebels. When they weren't being held hostage, contracting malaria, or meeting Presidents and guerrilla leaders, they found themselves among mystifying ancient cities slowly being reclaimed by nature. Elaborately carved stone statues were buried by time, and massive pyramids were covered with incomprehensible hieroglyphics.
These two men were pivotal in the rediscovery of the Mayan civilization. Their books inspired generations of archaeologists to excavate and preserve Mayan sites like Chichen Itza, Palenque, and Tulum. And their illustrations were so accurate that they have been used to help decode the Mayan language even though the original stone hieroglyphics have been effaced and worn away.
Their names are John Lloyd Stephens and Frederick Catherwood. They have been largely forgotten, but their story and their thrilling adventure is worth remembering.
Sources and links
This disclaimer is unnecessary, but I’m gonna include it anyway: We all know how the internet works. Any of the links included here might disappear from existence at any time. The Wayback Machine is usually pretty good at archiving things, but not always.
-Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas, and Yucatan. John L. Stephens. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07SRVTN2T/
(I can’t vouch for the quality of this version of Incidents of Travel. I found a physical copy of the first 2 volumes. Since the book is in the public domain, anybody can republish it with zero quality control.)
-Jungle of Stone: The Extraordinary Journey of John L. Stephens and Frederick Catherwood, and the Discovery of the Lost Civilization of the Maya. William Carlsen. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0105V62Z0/
-History of Belize: From Mayan Settlement To Melting Pot. Kathleen Peddicord. https://medium.com/liveandinvestoverseas/history-of-belize-from-mayan-settlement-to-melting-pot-58205831902
-Ancient Mayan civilisation 'was WIPED OUT by deforestation.' https://www.express.co.uk/news/science/1005952/Ancient-Mayan-civilisation-deforestation-science-world?fbclid=IwAR0EbLUTGcW7V2euZrqtf98IFUbeIa-iFvIk3Iqiv64NKd2NhsMlNWNfMiM
-What happened to the ancient Mayans? https://www.history101.com/mayan-mystery/?fbclid=IwAR0yv8v29E_GlvS_LI8S_4mHIvF0CTXBi5l4_5_UJojGUGl13LKQ0IPI5Jk
-There aren’t any good videos about Tonina that I could find. It’s a relatively unknown place. The first two videos below are in Spanish and the second two have no narration.
-Tonina documentary by the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kb6xzOvDEPo
-This video makes you feel like you’re taking a guided tour of Tonina: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ayWEkXoJDiU
-Or if you prefer no talking, check out this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZjzWy-S2Hc
-Drone footage, no narration: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxGS_Cxu7RY
-Daguerreotype video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N0Ambe4FwQk