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From Plunder to PreservationBritain and the Heritage of Empire, c.1800–1940$
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Astrid Swenson and Peter Mandler

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780197265413

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197265413.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM BRITISH ACADEMY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.britishacademy.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright British Academy, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in BASO for personal use.date: 03 July 2022

Publication as Preservation at a Remote Maya Site in the Early Twentieth Century*

Publication as Preservation at a Remote Maya Site in the Early Twentieth Century*

(p.217) 10 Publication as Preservation at a Remote Maya Site in the Early Twentieth Century*
From Plunder to Preservation

Donna Yates

British Academy

This chapter concerns the concept of ‘remoteness’ in early Mesoamerican archaeology as a factor in site preservation. Throughout the nineteenth century, Maya sites were academically and popularly conceived of as beyond ‘preservation’ in any realistic sense. However, the late nineteenth-century emergence of archaeology as a science and the growth of North American academic interest in Central America forced a situation where ‘preservation’ was incorporated into professional archaeological identity. Using the Guatemalan site of Holmul as a case study, the chapter presents publication as a form of preservation for logistically challenging archaeological sites in the early twentieth century. Publication is conceived of as an obligatory process that not only produced a textual ‘preserved site’, but served as an homage to advances in the development of North American-style archaeology as a scientific enquiry.

Keywords:   archaeology, Mesoamerica, history of science, Maya, Guatemala, publication, preservation

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