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Despite the later reassessments that were to somewhat dull the shine of his achievements, Sylvanus Morley remains a notable and respected figure in Maya scholarship.

In retrospect, these breakthroughs may have been realized earlier had it not been for Morley’s, and later Eric Thompson’s, almost “on principle” position against the phonetic approach. Morley was born in Chester, Pennsylvaniathe eldest of six children. Consequently, most of Morley’s attempts to advance understanding of the Maya script have been superseded. New Mexico Office of the State Historian.

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The net research result of their excavations revealed Chichen Itza to be an unusual mixture of building styles: His commitment and enthusiasm for Maya studies helped inspire the necessary sponsorship for projects that would ultimately reveal much about ancient Maya civilization.

Towards the end of the project Morley’s work on these was to be superseded somewhat by a more-comprehensive analysis made by Hermann Beyer in Flint, Richard; Shirley Cushing Flint n. The essentials of the calendric notation and astronomical data had been worked out by the early 20th century, and by the s John E.

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.

Maya Archaeologist 2nd American ed. As a director of archaeological excavation projects, Sylvanus Morley was well regarded and liked by his colleagues and his Carnegie board employers, his later movement to “lighter duties” notwithstanding.

However, major advances made in the decipherment of Maya hieroglyphic writing and refinements in archaeological data which have been made since that time have now called into question much of this former “standard” interpretation, ciivilizacion key elements and significantly revising the Maya civilizacionn account.

Archived from the original PDF on Nonetheless immediately upon graduating from PMC Sylvanus got his wish, and was able to attend Harvard University in pursuit of an undergraduate degree in archaeology. Contributions to American Archaeology, No.

The reconstructions of Chichen Itza and other sites were widely admired; but in terms of the research output and the resulting documentation produced, civvilizacion legacy of these projects did not quite amount to what might have been expected to come from civilziacion a lengthy investigation. Archived from the original on The Maya and their Neighbors. He also bestowed its name, uaxactunfrom the Mayan languagesafter a stela inscription he found there which recorded a Maya Long Count Calendar date in the 8th cycle i.


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. The Sacred and the Sylfanus It was Morley’s view, and one that found wide support, that these undeciphered portions would contain only more of the same astronomical, calendric and perhaps religious information, not actual historical data.

Morley also conducted espionage in Mexico on behalf of the United States during World War I, but the scope of those activities only came to light well after his death. A separate archaeological dig, this one under the Mexican government, had also commenced working the site; the two projects divided the areas to excavate, continuing side-by-side for several years, in a somewhat guarded but nonetheless cordial fashion.

Quotation as cited in Coep. For some later Maya researchers, ” His contemporaries in this work included the noted artist Georgia O’Keeffe. When Morley and his team returned in to commence their excavations, Chichen Civliizacion was a sprawling complex of several large ruined buildings and many smaller ones, most of which lay concealed under mounds of earth and vegetation.

La civilización maya – Sylvanus Griswold Morley – Google Books

Morley graduated with an A. He had particular talents in communicating his fascination for the subject to a wider 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.

He supposed that the Maya writing system was one based chiefly upon ideographic or pictographic principles, and that if present any elements of phoneticism would always be “overshadow[ed]” by the ideographic meaning assigned to each glyph. Morley was to devote the most of the next two decades working in the Maya region, overseeing the seasonal archaeological digs and restoration projects, returning to the United States in the off-season to give a series of lectures on his finds.

This latter was originally baptised Sylvanus Griswold Small “Sylvanus Griswold” being a family “heirloom” namebut changed his surname from Small to Morley in his early twenties when his father did likewise.

Catalog Record: La civilización maya | Hathi Trust Digital Library

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. The evidence indicated that the site had been inhabited since at least the mid-Classic, but that a particular florescence had occurred in the Post-Classic, when the site was apparently a major power.


He wrote a popular series of articles about the Maya and various Maya sites in the National Geographic Magazine. Some sources erroneously note his birthplace as Massachusetts, in apparent confusion with that of his cousin, also named Sylvanus Griswold Morley.

However, recent research from the mids onwards has now questioned this orthodoxy, to the point where covilizacion 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.

Rider Haggardbased on tales of the “lost cities” of Central America, was a particular favorite of the young Morley. He was particularly proficient civiilizacion recovering calendar dates from well-worn and weathered inscriptions, owing to his great familiarity with the various glyphic styles of the tzolk’inhaab’ and Long Count elements.

For the professor of Spanish, see Sylvanus Moley. This view became the prevailing one for the next several decades. Kidderand Morley was left to concentrate on Chichen Itza. In full, Morley writes that lla though it might be anticipated that more phonetic elements would come to be identified, ” This is easily explained by the fact that he is one of the few archaeologists who have studied the hieroglyphs of Chichen Itza.

Sylvanus duly enrolled in a civil engineering degree at PMC, graduating in Several times, he was incapacitated by recurring bouts of malaria and he had to be hospitalised after separately contracting colitis and then amoebic dysentery the following year. 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. Archaeological Ethics 2nd ed.

Coe also comments that many talented people such as Thompson would spend more time in restoring the site for later tourism than in actual research. Seeing little scope for employment opportunities in archaeology, the Colonel encouraged his son to study engineering instead. Over the next few seasons, the team expanded their digs, recovering other anomalous structures from the earthen mounds, such as the Temple of the Jaguar and the Temple of the Warriors.

This page was last edited ,orley 27 Septemberat One notable critic, the famous anthropologist Franz Boaspublished a letter of protest in the December 20, edition of The Nation.