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Brief Introduction to the Archaeologists that Help Reconstruct Chichen Itza Temples and Pyramids.

Maya archeology - Hacienda Chichen first Maya archeological research headquarters


Hacienda Chichen has housed archaeologists and Mayan scholars since before the 1920s when the Carnegie Institution's first Maya Research Expedition used the property as their Maya Archaeological Headquarters during their years recording Maya art, exploring and reconstructing Chichen Itza, in the Yucatan.  During this Maya expedition program, many of today's cottages at the property were built by the following famous scholars, whose works helped shaped the current understanding of ancient Mayan Civilization and legacy.  Their inspiration continues shaping the spirit and ambiance of this Green hotel unique accommodations and style of rooming.


These are some of the first archaeologists that lived in the Hacienda Chichen grounds, while they studied and helped reconstruct Chichen Itza Mayan Temples in Yucatan, Mexico.  Their cottages nowadays house the hotel's twenty eight guestrooms, including Master Suites, Honeymoon Jr., and Historic Rooms:

Maya scholar Morley lived in Hacienda Chichen during his field trip studies of Chichen ItzaSylvanus Griswold Morley , 1883-1948
Rumored to be Stephen Spielberg's prototype for archaeologist Indiana Jones, Morley was born in 1883, in Pennsylvania and worked for nearly three decades deciphering Maya hieroglyphs and excavating Mayan ruins in Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala. He developed an interest in archaeology shortly after Harvard's Peabody Museum received Thompson's treasure trove of artifacts from dredging of the sacred well at Chichen Itza in 1904. Morley became a research associate in 1915 for the Carnegie Institution and applied for the position to head up their explorations in Yucatan, Southern Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras. Soon after, he presented Carnegie with a proposal outlining a 20-year plan to restore Chichen Itza to its former  grandeur and to invite tourists to become a part of that mix. Morley believed public interest alone would help fund the project. He chose Chichen Itza because it was close to Merida and easy to reach, thanks to governor Felipe Carrillo Puerto's building of a new road connecting Merida with the soon-to-be-famous tourist site. Morley always dressed the part of the archaeologist, complete with pith helmet, but it is said he hated the jungle. His dislike for the climate and surroundings couldn't dampen his incredible enthusiasm for the Maya civilization however. After he had established himself at Chichen Itza to explore the Mayan ruins, local Maya leaders were glad to know him as the unofficial spokesman for the Yucatecan Mayas from 1923 until his death in 1948. You can stay at his original Hacienda Chichen Maya Stone Cottage, where Mr. Morley lived for many years and enjoyed working.  View Room Info and rates.

Edward Herbert Thompson, 1856-1935

Edward Herbert Thompson was born on September 28, 1856, in Worcester, Massachusetts. Thompson's work as an anthropologist started in 1879, when he published his thoughts on how the Maya culture may have originated from the continent of Atlantis. Thompson spent 40 years studying Mayan remains and the Mayan way of life. During this time, Thompson lived closely with the Mayan local people, learning their language, traditions, religion. Thompson was appointed vice consul to the Yucatan in 1885. In 1895, a wealthy Chicago patron, Allison Armour made a donation to Thompson to purchase the ruins at Chichen Itza; about 100 square miles of land including Hacienda Chichen, where he built his cottage rooms and used as his headquarters. While waiting for the hacienda to be restore, Thompson camped out in Chichen Itza's Nunnery. Famous for his active roll in the Maya exploration period, he discovered that chaltunes were used as water reservoirs where there were no cenotes. He also had molds made from Labna to recreate the Maya buildings for the 1893 Columbian Exposition.  After Thompson had been researching in Chichen Itza for 40 years the Mexican government decided that they didn't approve of the work he was doing and he was forbidden to return. Thompson wrote about his research and investigations of the Maya culture in a book called People of the Serpent published in 1932 and he died in New Jersey in 1935, read the Hacienda Chichen history details here. The Mexican Government seized Chichen Itza following publication of a book in the United States listing the value of its treasure in the millions. You may read his brief biography here. 

August Le Plongeon while living at Hacienda Chichen, CHichen ItzaAugustus and Alice Le Plongeon
Augustus and Alice, both professional photographers, married in London and after some time in New York, set sail for the Yucatan in the summer of 1873. After spending a few months in Merida, getting to know the people and the language, they spent most of their time and effort photographing the Maya ruins at Uxmal and Chichen Itza, taking plaster casts of some of the more interesting sculptural elements at Uxmal and Chichen Itza Mayan ruins. They spent their last summer at Uxmal in 1881 and went to Chichen Itza to stay at Hacienda Chichen, rest and finish up their documentation. The two retired from fieldwork in 1884 but continued a controversial career of lecturing and writing about the ancient Maya culture You can stay at their Hacienda Chichen Master guestroom and Cottage and enjoy the soulful ambiance they loved so much. View Room Info and rates.

Karl Ruppert, 1895-1960
Ruppert was a Maya archaeologist who had begun with the Carnegie Institution under the direction of Sylvanus Morley. He was known for his knowledge and efforts to map the residential mount at Chichen Itza, where his knowledge of small architecture structures helped to plot the maps. He was also known for his speedy professionalism and an eye for excavation sampling. While working for the Carnigie Institution, Karl Ruppert lived at the Hacienda Chichen, where he spent many seasons in collaboration with A. Ledyard Smith surveying the vast ground area of the ancient Maya city of Chichen Itza. Ruppert published quite a few books, among them his Chichen Itza Caracol monograph (Ruppert 1935) and his many preliminary briefs on his house mound surveys (1952-56). His competent professionalism places him among the most dedicated of the archaeologists staff at the Carnegie Institute during its seasons in the Maya sites up to 1958, when the Institute closed its Department of Archaeology.

Did you know Maya is a true Mother Language with over 30 dialects still spoken todayAlfred Tozzer , 1877-1954
Alfred Tozzer graduated from Harvard University in 1900. After college he traveled extensively in Europe and participated in field work concerning linguistics, ethnological and archaeological areas. He first went to study the Maya in 1902 as a Traveling Fellow of the Archaeological Institution of America and witnessed the dredging of the Cenote of Sacrifice in Chichen Itza. In 1905 Tozzer began teaching Anthropology at Harvard. His most important works among others are Maya Grammar (1921), Chichen Itza and its Center of Sacrifice (1957) plus  Landa, an amazing translation of the pagan life of the Maya first written by Frey Diego de Landa, the Bishop of Yucatan in 1566. He lived at Hacienda Chichen during his field-study years.  Now, you can stay at his Hacienda Chichen Cottage View Room Info and rates.

Ann A. MorrisWatercolor of mural painting, ‘Temple of the Warriors, Chichen Itza,’ by Ann Axtell Morris. courtesy of Peabody Museum
   In 1925, Ann Morris joined her husband, Earl H. Morris, the Field Director for the Carnegie Institution Maya Expedition at Chichen Itza, Yucatan, and the staff of archaeologists and scholars in the explorations and investigations done at the main ancient Maya temples of Chichen Itza. Mrs. Morris and Jean Charlot started working at the Temple of the Warriors by copying the sculpted reliefs and murals of the Maya temples' inner chambers. As she and Charlot were working in this project, Morley and his staff uncovered the temple's principal altar area. In 1931, Mr. and Mrs. Morris published their work in a two-volume set containing a textbook and an illustration book, titled The Temple of Warriors in Chichen Itza, Yucatan, and was co-authored by Jean Charlot. One of the most impressive projects she was involved in was the recovering and copying of the unique mural paintings at The Chac Mol Temple and The Jaguar Temples. Mr.and Mrs. Morris lived at Hacienda Chichen during their Maya studies field work her cottage, as a guest you may rent her suite, the most lovely master room at our hotel.  View Room Info and rates.

Maya archeologists that have lived in Hacienda Chichen, Chichen Itza, YucatanJean Charlot
As a young artist, Jean Charlot was invited by Dr. Sylvannus G. Morley to be part of the Carnegie Institute Maya Expedition staff at Chichen Itza in the early 1920s. He was given the task of recording the Maya stone carvings and sculptures in detail through his drawings, paintings and sketches. During the four years that he worked there, Mr. Charlot lived at the Hacienda Chichen, where he painted four fabulous murals: two small ones at the Casco's lobby and two large ones in the east room of the "Victoria Building" which are no longer visible due to the decay of the stucco walls. By 1928, Jean Charlot concluded his field work at Chichen-Itza and began working with the Morrises designing their book The Warriors' Temple at Chichen Itza, Yucatan published in 1931. The book has over a hundred fine detailed illustrations, lithographies and color reproductions by Charlot. A few repro-ductions of his artwork are part of the decor in each of his cottage's four guestrooms. You may read his brief biography here.

Dr. Merle Greene Robertson
Dr. Merle Greene Robertson developed her personal artistic technique during the 1960s to create her impressive rubbings, which have played a major role in the recording and study of ancient Maya stone carvings and panels. Her extensive work covers over a hundred Maya sites in Yucatan, Mexico, Belize, Honduras and Guatemala. Here at her beloved Chichen Itza, Dr. Robertson has made over two thousand individual rubbings of almost every sculpted stone structure, Mexico's Order of the Aztec Eagle awarded to Merle Greeneincluding the entire Great Ballcourt, the Temple of the Warriors and the sixty columns of the N.E. Colonnade, every platform, the Osario, the Castillo, the  Hieroglyphic Panels and Columns of the Palace, as well as many temples in Old Chichen, today a restricted area. Her original works are in the "Merle Greene Robertson Collection" of the Rare Book Department of the Howard Tilton Memorial Library at Tulane University. Mexico's highest honor to a non-citizen was given to Dr. Robertson: the "Order of the Aztec Eagle" awarded for her professional dedication and contribution to the recording of Mesoamerican ancient art and her twenty years directing the "Mesa Redonda de Palenque" Conferences. Information about the museum with her rubbings can be found on our Museum page. She personally redesigned her Hacienda Chichen room in the late 1990s and used it each year until her death in 2011.  Today, her cottage Master rooms is among the most lovely at our hotel. Read Her Bio or View Room Info and rates.

Linda Schele, 1942-1998

American art historian and epigrapher Linda Schele was first and foremost an artist, but when she saw Palenque in 1970, she turned her remarkable talents towards recording Mesoamerican hieroglyphic renderings, most notably on Maya stele. She published prolifically and toward the end of her life ran workshops on Maya writing in Texas, Guatemala and Belize. She considered the work she did educating present day Mayans in the hieroglyphic writing to be the most important work of her career. She was awarded two diplomas of recognition by the government of Guatemala.

Harry Evelyn D. Pollock, 1900-1982
In 1927 Harry Pollack decided to join the Carnegie Institute Maya Archaeological program and moving to Yucatan. In his first season, Pollock worked in Chichen Itza under Dr. Morley and lived at Hacienda Chichen where he met Sir Eric Thompson and Jean Charlot. The three men collaborated in a major publication in 1932 dedicated to the Maya architecture style. Dr. Pollock's doctoral dissertation on Maya architecture Round Structures of Aboriginal Middle America was published by the Carnegie Institute in 1936, the year he received his doctorate from from Harvard University in Maya Archaeology. During the time he lived at Hacienda Chichen, Dr. Pollock met Dr. Alfred Tozzer, who later became his role model and friend. For his achievements, Dr. Pollock received many awards during his lifetime. Today, Dr. Pollock's contribution to the understanding of Maya architecture and symbolism is well recognized. You can stay at his original Hacienda Chichen Cottage View Room Info and rates.

Tatiana Proskouriakoff's  brief biography - great artist expert in Maya art, you can rent her cottage in Hacienda Chichen, Chichen Itza, YucatanTatiana Proskouriakoff, 1909-1985
Tatiana was born in 1909 in Tomsk, Siberia, Russia to a chemist father and a physician mother. Raised in Pennsylvania, Tatiana received her Bachelor of Science from Pennsylvania State University in architecture. During the US Depression she went to work for the University of Pennsylvania drawing archaeological reconstructions of Chichen Itza, Tikal and other Mayan ruins. Tatiana noticed patterns in the hieroglyphics at Piedras Negras and eventually was able to identify historical figures and events as told by the hieroglyphics. For her work in this area, she was given the Alfred V. Kidder medal in 1962 and was Penn State's Woman of the Year in 1971. In 1984, she was given the Order of the Quetzal, the highest award given to a foreigner by Guatemala. You may read her brief biography here. During her many field-trips and visits to Chichen Itza, she stayed in her Hacienda Chichen private cottage and became a close friend of Mrs. Carmen Barbachano.  Today, her cottage rooms are among the most lovely rooms at our hotel. Read Her Bio or View Room Info and rates.

John Lloyd Stephens 1805-1852 -  Maya Scholar and autor of Incidents of Travel in Yucatan - lived at Hacienda Chichen during his days in Chichen Itza, Yucatan.John Lloyd Stephens 1805-1852
Chichen Itza entered the popular imagination in 1843 with the book Incidents of Travel in Yucatan by John Lloyd Stephens (with illustrations by Frederick Catherwood). The book recounted Stephens’ visit to Yucat�n and his days at Hacienda Chichen studying Chich�n Itz�. The book prompted other explorations of the city.  You can stay at his Hacienda Chichen Cottage View Room Info and rates.

Frederick Catherwood, 1799-1854 

Catherwood was born in England in 1799 into an affluent family. His schooling was completed at Oxford University, where he studied architecture. At the age of 40, Catherwood accompanied John Lloyd Stephens to Central America to illustrate Stephens' book about ancient Maya civilization. Stephens and Catherwood discovered majestic, but deserted, ancient Maya cities and temples in ruin which he captured in his beautiful drawings published as Incidents of Travel in Yucatan. He made his drawings using a camera lucida  (an optic device invented before photography). Catherwood artwork was vivid and intriguing and became museum and collectors treasure. You can stay at his Hacienda Chichen Cottage Master guestroom View Room Info and rates.

Information gathered with the help of:     Yucatan Adventure Travel Guide

Among Chichen Itza hotels, Hacienda Chichen is the only green destination certified by iStayGreen.org - Green Lodging and Eco-Friendly Hotels     Proud Member of Sustainable Travel International  Hacienda Chichen: Mexico's sustainable destination featured in the 2010 United Nations Climate Change Conference        Nat. Geo. Best Eco-Spa Wellness Destinations: Hacienda Chichen   Hacienda Chichen Resort committed to rescue the Maya Jungle wildlife: flora and fauna.

Zona Hotelera de Chichen Itza, KM.120 Carretera Libre 180 Merida-Puerto Juarez
Chichen Itza,  Yucatan, Mexico C.P. 97751

USA & Canada Toll Free: 1-877-631-4005                            Mexico Phone: +52-999-920-8407