Lintel from a Maya building

A bigger picture

This lintel was excavated by Alfred Maudslay, an archaeologist working in Mesoamerica in the late 19th century. He undertook excavation and recording with a scientific approach that was very advanced for its time. Innovatively combining photography, illustration, the production of casts and accurate measurements, he recorded sites in great detail.

Quiriguá excavation


Taken in 1883 this photograph shows Maudslay and his assistants making a plaster cast of a sculpture whilst on an excavation in Quiriguá, a Maya site.

See more See more: https://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=3371908&partId=1&searchText=Am,Maud,B72.35+&page=1

Pelenque excavation


A photograph of Maudslay’s excavations at Palenque, a Maya site. Maudslay can be seen standing in the arch whilst men are working below using wheelbarrows and carrying spades. The people are useful indicators of scale.

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Temple of Kukulcan


Maudslay’s photograph of the Temple of Kukulcan, in Chichén Itzá, Mexico, demonstrates how buildings can deteriorate over time and can be contrasted with the image from the National Geographic’s website, link in For the classroom, which shows the building at the current time.

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Lintel from a Maya building