Document : On the Present State of Our Knowledge of the Mexican and Central American Hieroglyphic Writing
Au 13e Congrès international des américanistes de New York, tenu en 1902, Eduard Seler fit une communication intitulée « On the Present State of Our Knowledge of the Mexican and Central American Hieroglyphic Writing »1 que nous transcrivons ci-après. Les notes sont de notre fait.
On the Present State of Our Knowledge of the Mexican and Central American Hieroglyphic Writing.
By Eduard Seler.
I feel the heavy responsibility of being compelled to treat before this most illustrious assembly so intricated and difficult a subject as the pictography and the hieroglyphic writing of the Mexican and Central American tribes. Of course, you will not expect from me an exhaustive exposition of the matter in question. I must confine myself to a few hints, giving merely the results we have obtained and the lines in which future research ought to be conducted.
As to the Mexican pictorial writing, you are all aware of the great importance of the work that our honorary president, the Duke of Loubat2, undertook in ordering made exact facsimile editions of the few ancient religious books that a good fortune had spared from destruction, and that are now preserved in the Italian and other European libraries. I am greatly indebted to His Excellency for enabling me to make a more detailed study of these relics, by asking m.e to write a commentary on various of these codices, printed, as well as the codices themselves, at the expense of His Excellency. Two of these commentaries, that on the Tonalamatl of the Aubin collection and that on the codex Fejervary-Mayer have been published in the two preceding years. And I have now the honor to present to the Congress a commentary on the Codex Vaticanus 3773, accompanied by explanatory tables, giving the meaning of each figure and each symbol, as far as I have been able to make them out.
Certainly, the extent of the codices, as well as that of most of the inscriptions, as I understand them, will disappoint many readers. There are no detailed accounts of historical events of the daily life, or of the religious belief, as on the walls of the Egyptian tombs, or in the hieroglyphic and hieratic papyrus. The whole bulk of the Mexican codices of this group is confined to calendaric and astrological purposes. But there is given in detail a number of vividly painted figures, gods and goddesses, clothed and arrayed in a very curious manner and surrounded by various strange symbols. I have been able to explain nearly all of the names of these gods and goddesses and the meaning of these symbols. Moreover, it is not only astrological matter that is treated in these codices, but there is also to be found quite a number of astronomical observations. The apparent revolution of Venus, embracing 584 days, takes up considerable space in these pictures. I could show, on two pages of the codex in question, the Vaticanus 3773, the existence of exact statements as to the beginning and the end of the period during which the planet Venus is seen as the morning star. Finally, a fact that is perhaps of greater importance than any other, there are distinct and unmistakable signs in the codex in question and in the allied manuscripts of a relation between these Mexican picture writings and the Maya codices. The sheets of the Vaticanus 3773, where the deity of the planet Venus is seen throwing his spear gainst certain other deities, five in number, according to the sequence of the five periods of Venus, have their exact counterpart in the sheets 46-50 of the Dresden Maya codex. The same is true for another page of the Vaticanus, that where the gods presiding over the five periods of Venus are represented. It is a fact that must be taken into consideration, that in the Mexican codices the gods playing part in these representations of the periods of Venus are well-known deities, revered in a similar way over nearly the whole Mexican area. This is not true of the corresponding sheets of the Maya codices. The greater part of the deities represented on them are ζπαΕ λεσδ μενα. They are only met with on these five sheets and differ entirely from the common types of the remaining part of the Maya manuscripts.
I now proceed to another group of codices, especially to one, the honor of whose discovery and reproduction is due to my distinguished and highly appreciated fellow-worker, Mrs. Zelia Nuttall, and to the leaders of the subventioners of the Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology. This precious manuscript, that rightly bears the name of its discoverer, and the allied manuscript of the Imp. R. Court Library of Vienna, represent another very different and very interesting type of Mexican and Central American codices. I agree with Mrs. Zelia Nuttall that these two codices are the ones which are alluded to in the “Carta de la justicia y Gobernadores de la Rica Villa de la Vera Cruz” of the year 1519, and that, in consequence, it is very likely that they came from the coast region of the Mexican country, and that they were the first Mexican books that reached the European continent. I have the following opinion with respect to their content. You see on the outer cover of the facsimile edition of the Codex Nuttall a group of two symbols, a group that, in fact, is a very common one on the sheets of this manuscript. It means the day “one crocodile” in the year “one reed.” In my conception this is the first day of the Tonalamatl, or astrological calendar, in the first year of the cyclus of 52 years, or the beginning day of the first Venus-period in the first of the cyclus of 52 years, and, in all cases, where this group occurs, it marks the beginning of a particular reckoning. Starting from this day, one comes on the first three sheets of the Codex Nuttall to a day that marks the end of a period of 82 years, and starting from this day one comes on to the fourth page of the codex, and likewise on sheets lo to 21, to the end of a period of 88 years and 361 days. Now, what is the meaning of these periods ?
Eighty-two Mexican years are nearly 20 days (— 3 h. 18′ 59″) shorter than 82 true solar years. Hence, this period means an intercalation of 20 days in order to make right the length of the year.
Eighty-eight years and 361 days are 55 Venus periods (reckoned at 584 days each) and 361 days, and this period is exactly the same as 55 true Venus periods (of 583 days, 22h., 6m., 40s.) and a solar year of 365 days. In order to make right the length of the Venus period one had to insert four days after 55 periods. The ancient astronomers expressed this intercalation by adding to 55 Venus periods (of 584 days each) a solar year minus four days. Hence, this period of 88 years and 361 days means an intercalation of four days, in order to make right the length of the Venus period.
Starting from the day “one crocodile” in the year “one reed,” after having been completed the period of 88 years and 361 days the following day beginning a second intercalation period of the Venus, is the day “eight wind.” This is the “Lord eight wind” represented in so conspicuous a manner in the first sheets of the Codex Nuttall.
A third and most important group of manuscripts and inscriptions are those found in the area inhabited by the Maya people. We have the great honour to see amidst us at this Congress the man, who by patient labor of more than ten years, did perhaps the greatest work that could be done for the promotion of the study of the Maya hieroglyphic writing, Mr. Alfred P. Maudslay3. The splendid photographs you see suspended on the frames, and the precious volumes that are before you are the marked signs of his work. I ask my audience to cast a glance on the development of these studies in the preceding century.
In 1831 the report of Captain Guillermo Dupaix on the ruins of Palenque and some of the drawings of his draughtsman Luciano Cartañeda [sic pour Luciano Castañeda] were published in Lord Kingsborough’s great work on “Mexican Antiquities.”4 Ten years later, in 1841, John L. Stephens presented to the English reader his famous “Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas and Yucatan,”5 accompanied by excellent drawings of his traveling companion, Mr. Catherwood6), giving for the first time an appropriate account of those wonderful monuments — “standing as they do in the depths of a tropical forest, silent and solemn, strange in design, excellent in sculpture, rich in ornament, different from the works of any other people, their uses and purposes, their whole history so entirely unknown, with hieroglyphs explaining all, but perfectly unintelligible.”
It is only since his time, that European and American scholars became acquainted with the Mayan documents and the general character of the Mayan hieroglyphs. Some twenty years passed, and more, without any notable progress. A new impulse was given to the studies of American archaeology by the work of the “Mission Scientifique au Mexique et dans l’Amérique Centrale,” and by the active energy of a man whose name stood for a long time in the first place in this kind of researches, Abbé Brasseur de Bourbourg7). He rescued from undeserving oblivion a great number of treasures hidden in the archives and on the bookshelves of the monasteries in Mexican territory and in Europe. With fervid zeal, he engaged himself in the study of the ancient history and the ancient languages of that region. He brought to light and interpreted the most of Waldeck’s8 drawings and plans, the Troano manuscript, the Popal Vuh and Bishop Landa’s Relacion de las Cosas de Yucatan. But endowed with a daring spirit and pushed forward by a fervent imagination, he dreamed of grasping at once the crown, and he fell short. A few pages written by a fellow- country man my lamented friend Dr. Valentini9, though not destitute of erroneous statements, were nevertheless sufficient to prove that the Rosetta-stone for the mysterious records engraved on the Palenque slabs had not been discovered, that the Landa alphabet used by Brasseur de Bourbourg as the starting-point for all his interpretations and his method of deciphering, is based on a misconception of the Maya graphic system, and is perhaps no more than a Spanish fabrication, or, at least, a development suggested to the Yucatec people by the European method of writing. Indeed, until this day, all attempts made to apply the genuine or a modified Landa alphabet as a key for the work of deciphering, — including the interpretations brought forward, some ten years ago, by the late Hilborne T. Cresson10 and Professor Cyrus Thomas11 — have proved to be a failure.
Another way, that of the independent study of the manuscripts, was entered by Cyrus Thomas in his study of the manuscript Troano : The author did not succeed in elucidating the system of the red and black numerals, nor the peculiar manner of number-writing followed in the Maya codices, but he gave useful comments on different points of the chronology ; he pointed out that the four cardinal points are given in the codices by certain glyphs and he interpreted, in a wholly satisfactory way, those plates of the manuscript Troano and the Dresden codex that treat of the elaborate ceremonies described by Bishop Landa, the Maya set forth in the last five days of the year, in order to prevent the evil sorts that were supposed to come from the varying symbols of the years.
A decided advance was made by Professor Förstemann12 toward the solution of the problem of the Maya hieroglyphic writing. In the introduction to his edition of the manuscript of the Royal Library at Dresden (1880) and in his commentaries on the same, published in 1886, he established beyond any doubt :
- That, besides the day signs of Landa, already noted by the other students, Landa’s signs of the so-called months, too, are to be seen in the Dresden codex (Plate 24, 46-50, and others).
- That the red numerals refer to the name of the day, and that the black numerals give the interval between the different days, denoted, as before said, by the red numerals.
- That, besides the dots and straight lines, denoting units and the cipher five, the Maya had a sign for the naught and for the number twenty.
- That the Maya counted units, twenties, three hundred and sixty, twenty times three hundred and sixty, twenty times twenty times three hundred and sixty, and so on up to the sixth degree.
- That they wrote these numerals by superposition, expressing the multiplicative value of every number by its position in the cipher column, just as we express by juxtaposition all the multiplicative value of every numeral.
- That, besides the period of 260 days, the Mexican Tonalamatl found everywhere in the Dresden codex and the other Mexican manuscripts, and besides the year of 365 days whose occurrence in the codices was shown by Professor Cyrus Thomas the Maya knew the apparent revolution of the planet Venus, admitted by them to have the length of 584 days.
- That there exist in the Dresden codex different series of numerals, occurring at regular intervals and reaching very considerable amounts.
To these important statements the following new facts were added in the next year ( 1887) :
8. That those numbers and number-columns of the Dresden codex that are found enclosed by a red loop, are to be subtracted from the amount of the neighboring number-column, the red loop acting as a minus sign.
9. That the high numbers, obtained by summing up the cipher columns and by subtracting the numerals enclosed within the red loop, are intended to express a certain day, that is to say, they give the interval existing between a certain day and another given day, the names of these days being generally written at the foot of the cipher columns.
10. That this other day that acts as a starting-point or the chronological zero, is, with a fex exceptions, one and the same in all these counts, viz. : 4 ahau, 8 cumku, that is to say, a day named with the number four and the day ahau, that at the same time is the eighth of the uinal or so-called month cumku.
These discoveries of Professor Förstemann’s, though partly connected with other statements, whose correctness could not be wholly proved, and, in fact, have been abandoned since then by the author, were of the greatest importance. The whole framework of the codices was laid open by them. They retained a good deal of material interpretation, in showing the existence in the codices of the apparent revolution of Venus. And, last but not least, in the numeric system of the Dresden codex, as pointed out by Professor Förstemann, there was given the germ of all the future discoveries that have recently aroused so much interest, as this numeric system is, in fact, one and the same with the Maya chronological system.
At the same time as the result of Professor Förstemann’s investigations were presented to the critical examination of students. Dr. Shellhas13 published his researches on the Mayan deities14, showing that certain numbers of hieroglyphs in the Dresden codex occur regularly in connection with the figures of certain deities, hence are to be considered as the signs that, in the hieroglyphic writing, give the names of these deities.
It was only then that I entered into this kind of studies, my next task being to revise the discoveries made by my fellow-countrymen. I showed that the disposition of the glyphs in the codices is the following :
- One or two glyphs giving the action in which the figure is represented.
- The principal hieroglyph giving the name of the deity or the mythological being represented.
- One to three glyphs expressing the qualities of the deity represented, its varying symbols and the like.
Relying upon Professor Cyrus Thomas’ discovery that Plates 25-28 of the Dresden codex are to be explained by the xma kaba kin ceremonies, as described by Bishop Landa. I pointed out for certain deities and certain glyphs the names pertaining to them.
At the same time I explained the real concern of the glyphs of the four cardinal points, showing that there are connected with them four other glyphs, that must be considered as the hieroglyphs of the colors — yellow, red, white, black. I may add here that in the arrangement of the figures and glyphs on Plates 25-28 of the Dresden codex, it seems that the writer of the codex committed an error. The lower thirds of Plates 26 and 28 must be exchanged. This emendation only explains the apparently irregular disposition of the glyphs of the cardinal points on these plates, and it shows that the lower thirds of these plates are devoted to the tutelar deity of the year next in order.
All the former writers had considered the Maya glyphs, the day signs, the so-called month signs, as being sui generis. I showed that there exists an intimate connection between the day-signs of the Mexicans and the Maya day signs.
Whereas the other writers had applied the Yucatec names of the years to the years and the dates of the Maya codices, I showed that from the dates as well of the Dresden codex as from those occurring on the monuments, it must be deduced that the writers of the codices, as well as the sculptors of the monuments, did not commence their years with the days kan, muluc, ix, cauac, as the Yucatecs did in Bishop Landa’s time, but that they commenced them with the days been e’tznab, akbal, lama, corresponding to the Mexican bearers of the years : acatl “reed,” tecpatl “flint,” calli “house,” tochtli “rabbit.”
There has for a long time been a dispute about the length of the katun, the principal time-period used in the Mayan records. Bishop Landa seems to suggest that it must be reckoned at twenty years. But this does not conform with the fact that the sequence of the katuns — that is to say, of their commencing days — is the following : 13 ahau, 11 ahau, 9 ahau, 7 ahau, 5 ahau, 3 ahau, 1 ahau, 12 ahau, 10 ahau, 8 ahau, 6 ahau, 4 ahau, 2 ahau. In order to remove this difficulty some of the copyists of the books of the Chilam Balam gave a length of twenty-four years to the katun. This commutation that, in fact, is by no means in conformity with the ancient statements, has been adopted by the Yucatec antiquarian Pio Perez15, and after him by Prof. Cyrus Thomas and by Prof. Förstemann. I showed, in a paper published m 1891, that the real length of the katun was twenty times three hundred and sixty days, the time-period adopted in the numeric or else chronological system, of the Dresden codex.
This was the state of things in 1891. Though a good many important discoveries had been made, we had come in a way to a dead point. There was always an open field for every kind of hypothesis in the diligent and detailed study of the manuscripts, but it seemed impossible to reach conclusions of a certain well established probability beyond the very limited number of those we had already obtained. It was then that Alfred P. Maudslay gave a new impulse to the study of the Maya hieroglyphic writing by the publication of his “Archaeology” in the great Encyclopedia called “Biologia Centrali Americana.” One cannot overestimate the importance of this work. The material at hand for purposes of investigation and comparison was here increased in a very considerable degree, and presented to the students in a form ready for working. In fact, I do not know of any other publication on Archaeological subjects of a similar perfection. Though, generally, Maudslay restrained himself from drawing conclusions, he intimated to us a most decided step, in putting together on Plate 31 of his first volume the Initial Series of the Copan Stelae. The germ of all further discoveries, Förstemann’s, Goodman’s and my own was enclosed in this table.
In the year 1891, in a paper presented to the Berlin Anthropological Society, Prof[.] Förstemann had printed out that the sign
which I had shown must be read tun, is to be considered as having the value of three hundred and sixty (360), and that another sign, partly composed of the same elements,
must be supposed as equivalent to the number seven thousand two hundred (7200), that is to say, must have the phonetic value katun (as I afterwards pointed out) ; finally, that
the day-sign chuen
certain places of the Dresden codex seemed to express the number twenty (20), that is to say to have the phonetic value uinal. Certainly all this was, originally, not the result of investigation, but of a kind of intuition. But, in the same paper, Prof. Förstemann addressed a crucial test in applying these statements to the hieroglyphic stelae of Plates 61 and 69 of the Dresden codex, where we see, indeed, a great number given by enumerating the numbers of katuns, tuns, uinals and kins, just in the same way as the great numbers of Copan Stelae and of the other monuments are given by the numbers of kins, uinals, tuns, katuns and twenties of katuns, contained in them.
Prepared as we were by these statements and aware of the fact that the numeric system of the Dresden codex ascended by units, or kins, twenties, or uinals, three hundred and sixty, or tuns, twenty times three hundred and sixty, or katuns, and twenty times twenty times three hundred and sixty, or cycles, a glance at Mandslay’s [sic] list of the initial series was sufficient to convince us that these initial series could not be other things than great numbers, composed of kins, tuns, uinals, katuns and twenties of katuns. For it was easy to see that in these initial series there were embodied the same glyphs, and in the same order, we had recognized to represent the kins, tuns, uinals and katuns. A crucial test was at hand for the rightness of our supposition. In the Dresden codex the great numbers expressed the distance of a given date from another date, being the same throughout the whole Dresden codex, the day 4 ahau, 8 cumku, that, in fact, acts as a zero, or starting point, for all numerical or chronological computation. Now, the initial series — that, according to our supposition represented great numbers too — were followed, in nearly all the cases, by a date. It was evident that the initial series must give the distance of this date from the chronological zero, that is to say, from the day 4 ahau, 8 cumku. In fact, in a paper published 1894 (for Entzifferung der Maya Handschriften IV), Prof. Förstemann calculated quite correctly, from this point of view, the initial series of different Copan monuments. In lectures on Maya hieroglyphic writing, held in the Berlin Ethnographical Museum, I had expressed the same theory and I gave a short explanation of it, accompanied by the calculation of the initial series of the Stela B of Copan, to the meeting of the International Congress of Americanists, held in the year 1895 in Mexico City. You will understand that we did not expect this calendar to be challenged, and that we agree with Mr. F. T. Goodman that it is as infallible as the multiplication table. Only we had recognized this calendar and its infallibility some time before Mr. Goodman, worked out his book on the “Archaic Maya Inscriptions.”16
I come now to Mr. Goodman’s discoveries and the well known book that forms the eighth part of Mr. Maudslay’s Archaeologia, embodied in the great Encyclopaedia called “Biologia Centrali Americana.” I freely confess that this book, so severely criticized by the late Prof. Brinton17, represents another decided step in our knowledge of the Maya hieroglyphic writing, though I am sure that it embodies numerous erroneous statements and imaginary results, and though the author deliberately affects to neglect the recognition of the merits and the discoveries of former writers. The special merits of Mr. Goodman’s books are the following :
(1) That he presented in an easy and intelligible form to English readers what he called “the chronological calendar,” — the chronological system of the Mayas, that, as I said before, is one and the same with the numeric system of the Dresden Codex, and was recognized by Prof. Förstemann and myself as giving the explanation of the initial series of the Copan Stelae.
(2) That he gave a list of the principal forms of the glyphs that represent the different members of this chronological system, acting as multiplicandi in the initial series of the monuments.
(3) That he recognized the numeric value of certain glyphs called by him “Face Numerals,” acting as multiplicators in the initial series of the monuments — though it is evident that in his list the correct forms are mixed with erroneous and wholly arbitrary assertions.
(4) That he showed that the numeric value of these “face numerals” or multiplicators is augmented by ten, by adding a skeleton jaw and skeleton teeth — the abbreviation of a dead man’s skull — to the face in question.
(5) That he gave a list of the different forms of the so-called month-symbols occurring on the monuments,
(6) That he discovered the x’ma-kaba-kin sign.
(7) That, perhaps, he discovered a sign for the peirod of fifty-two years, called by him “a calendar round.”
The other statements concerning the numeric value of the day-signs and the so-called month-symbols, the signs denoting beginning, the directive signs, etc., given, like all others, without proof, need confirmation.
The author’s theory that the multiplicators of the initial series are to be considered as ordinal numbers, and his identification of the zero-glyph with the number twenty is evidently an erroneous one, since it implies, f. i., that the sign taken by him as denoting twenty, when combined with the glyph of the tun or period of 360 days, must be read eighteen.
The theory that the beginning day of the uinal, or so-called Maya month, was counted twenty instead of one, and the kindred notions concerning the beginning days of years and katuns are based on an artificial construction and do not conform to a natural explanation of things.
Goodman’s supposition of the Mayas having counted thirteen cycles, making out a grand era, and of the Maya reckoning being based on counting seventy-three of these supposed grand eras, is a wholly arbitrary one, and by no means supported by facts.
When working out his book, Goodman had the opportunity of being allowed to make use of Mr. Maudslay’s plaster casts, photographs and drawings. I had to await the publication of the same, and it was only after the coming-out of Mr. Maudslay’s first sheet on the Quiriguá monuments that I felt I had sufficient material at hand to continue my studies. I made them independently of Mr. Goodman’s book, whose statements, given without proof, did not seem to me, at that time, reliable. I presented the result of my investigations to the Berlin Anthropological Society in the winter of 1899-1900. I showed that the glyphs taken by Mr. Goodman as denoting twenty are to be read zero, and that the starting point, the chronological zero, for the computation of the initial series of all the monuments, is the same as that of the Dresden codex discovered by Prof. Förstemann, the day 4 ahau, 8 cumku. By a careful study of the initial series of the different monuments I succeeded in constructing another and independent list of the hieroglyphs of the numerals one to nineteen, embracing those caligraphic forms that appear, not as simple heads or faces but as entire figures. I was anxious to show the way by which I had come to these conclusions, presenting at the same time the proofs I relied upon. Finally, in a third paper, treating of the glyphs of the wooden lintels brought by Dr. Bernouilli from Tikal18, I showed that a glyph that had been formerly considered by me, and also by Mr, Goodman, as meaning twenty, is to be interpreted as the sign for “the eve.”
Mr. Goodman’s discoveries and his views on the Archaic Maya calendar have been taken up by Mr. Maudslay himself, and in this country by Mr. Bowditch19 and Mr. Gordon20. The latter particularly devoted himself to the interpretation of the material that has been brought out by the excavations made by the Peabody Museum in Copan, Honduras. The ample material contained in the photographs brought together by my countryman, Teobert Maler, has been studied in a very successful way by Mr. Bowditch, whereas Prof. Cyrus Thomas is busily engaged in revising and interpreting the different statements contained in Mr. Goodman’s book.
No doubt new and important channels in the investigation of the Maya hieroglyphic writing have been opened by the publications and the discoveries of the last few years. Nevertheless, it seems to me that there are certain restrictions limiting the progress of our knowledge which we have not yet succeeded in over-covering. All explanation of Maya hieroglyphs stands on firm grounds, inasmuch as we can confirm the interpretation by the calcul. Could we suppose, as Mr. Goodman does, that all figures and all glyphs and every detail of figures and glyphs are nothing else than numbers, that the whole bulk of the codices and the inscriptions is confined to arithmetic problems, we might hope to get some time to a perfect understanding. But I doubt if any one will be found agreeing with Mr. Goodman in this view. A material content of the codices and the inscriptions, a substantial meaning must be supposed, and there is little hope of being able to get at this meaning by merely comparing the glyphs. But we must arouse the question, if there does not exist anywhere remains of material tradition that would enable us to reach to material results. And, I think, such remains of material tradition exists. It is the tradition contained in the books of the Chilam Balam, that were written in the Maya tongue in Spanish time. In these books we have a description of the thirteen katuns, with the gods presiding over them, that seems to agree, in a way with some pages of the Codex Perez. Could we but understand the meaning of these chapters we might very likely come to some understanding of the adduced pages of the Codex Perez, and in all probability, to some understanding, too, of the meaning of the Katunic Stelae. But without having at hand a dictionary of the speech of the ancient times, there is no possibility of a successful study of the content of those ancient books. Hence, it is most desirable that the publication of the Diccionario Motul, now in preparation by the Smithsonian Institution, should be hastened in every possible way.
- Seler, Eduard, « On the Present State of Our Knowledge of the Mexican and Central American Hieroglyphic Writing », dans Proceedings of the International Congress of Americanists (13 session, New York, 1902), Easton, 1905, p. 157-170. Disponible en ligne, url : <https://archive.org/details/proceedingsinter1902inte/page/156/mode/2up>.
- Joseph Florimond Loubat, duc de Loubat (1831-1927). Voir : Verneau, R., « Joseph-Florimond, duc de Loubat », Journal de la Société des américanistes, 1927, vol. 19, n° 1, p. 383-385. Disponible en ligne, url : <https://www.persee.fr/doc/jsa_0037-9174_1927_num_19_1_3634>.
- Alfred Percival Maudslay (1850-1931). Voir : Rivet, Paul, « Alfred Percival Maudslay », Journal de la Société des Américanistes, 1931, tome 23, n° 1, p. 242-244. Disponible en ligne, url : <https://www.persee.fr/doc/jsa_0037-9174_1931_num_23_1_1098>.
- King, Edward (Lord Kingsborough) ; Dupaix, Guillermo (1746-1817), Antiquities of Mexico : comprising facsimiles of ancient Mexican paintings and hieroglyphics, preserved in the royal libraries of Paris, Berlin and Dresden, in the imperial library of Vienna, in the Vatican library, in the Borgian museum at Rome, in the library of Institute at Bologna, and in the Bodleian library at Oxford, London : R. Havell, 1831-1848. Dupaix, Guillermo (1746-1817), Antiquités mexicaines, relation des trois expéditions du capitaine Dupaix, ordonnées en 1805, 1806 et 1807, pour la recherche des antiquités du pays, notamment celles de Mitla et de Palenqué… suivie d’un parallèle de ces monuments avec ceux de l’Égypte, de l’Indostan et du reste de l’ancien monde, par M. Alexandre Lenoir,… d’une dissertation sur l’origine de l’ancienne population des deux Amériques et sur les diverses antiquités de ce continent, par M. Warden,… avec un discours préliminaire par M. Charles Farcy,… et des notes explicatives et autres documents, par MM. Baradère, de St-Priest et plusieurs voyageurs qui ont parcouru l’Amérique…, Paris : bureau des Antiquités mexicaines, 1834-1836, 2 vol.
- Stephens, John Lloyd (1805-1852), Incidents of travel in central America, Chiapas and Yucatan, London : J. Murray, 1841, 2 vol.
- Frederick Catherwood (1799-1854
- Étienne-Charles Brasseur de Bourbourg (1814-1874
- Jean-Frédéric Waldeck (1766-1875).
- Philipp Johann Joseph Valentini (1828-1899).
- Hilborne Thomson Cresson (?-1894).
- Cyrus Thomas (1825-1910).
- Ernst Wilhelm Förstemann (1822-1906).
- Paul Schellhas (1859-1945).
- Die Göttergestalten der Maya-Handschriften : ein mythologisches Kulturbild aus dem Alten Amerika, Dresden, 1897.
- Juan Pío Pérez (1798-1859) : The Katunes of Maya history : a chapter in the early chronology of Central America, with special reference to the Pio Perez manuscript, Worcester, Mass. : Press of C. Hamilton, 1880.
- Joseph T. Goodman, The Archaic Maya Inscriptions, London : Taylor & Francis, 1897, 2 vol.
- Daniel Garrison Brinton (1837-1899).
- Carl Gustav Bernoulli (1834-1878). Voir : Meyer-Holdamp, Valérie, « Carl Gustav Bernoulli und Tikal in Guatemala », Bulletin Société suisse des Américanistes, 2002-2003, n° 66-67, p. 71-76. Disponible en ligne, url :<https://www.sag-ssa.ch/bssa/pdf/bssa66-67_10.pdf>. Meyer-Holdamp, Valérie, Ein Basler unterwegs im Dschungel von Guatemala : Carl Gustav Bernoulli (1834-1878) : Arzt, Botaniker und Entdecker der Tikal, Basel : GS-Verlag, 2017,
- Charles Pickering Bowditch (1842-1921).
- George Byron Gordon (1870-1927). George Byron Gordon a dirigé des expéditions à Copan à la fin du XIXe siècle et, avec son frère MacLaren Gordon, en Alaska en 1905 et 1907.