The Ancient Cities of the New World
Beautifully illustrated throughout, this English translation of Désiré Charnay's record of his travels among the ancient cities of Mexico and Central America was first published in 1887. Born in France, Charnay (1828–1915) travelled extensively through commissions from the French government and with private patronage. He made several visits to the region between 1857 and 1886, producing in his work both a journal of his adventures and an archaeological examination of past civilisations. Beginning in Mexico, Charnay notably examines the ancient city of Tula and also the history of Yucatán, discussing aspects of Toltec and Mayan culture. He explores the ruins of Chichen Itza, Kabah and Yaxchilan (which Charnay dubbed 'Lorillard Town' after a benefactor), among many other settlements. Surveying art, pyramid architecture, ancient customs and history based on extant sources, this account was a major contribution in its field and remains of interest to scholars of Latin American archaeology.