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Description of the Ruins of an Ancient City

Description of the Ruins of an Ancient City, Discovered Near Palenque, in the Kingdom of Guatemala, in Spanish America: Translated from the Original Manuscript Report of Captain Don Antonio del Rio: Followed by Teatro Critico Americano; or, A Critical Investigation and Research into the History of the Americans, by Doctor Paul Felix Cabrera, of the City of New Guatemala

Frédéric de Waldeck, lithographer, relief sculpture from the Temple of the Cross, Palenque, printed by McQueen & Co.

Antonio del Río (fl. 1786–1787)
Description of the Ruins of an Ancient City, Discovered Near Palenque, in the Kingdom of Guatemala, in Spanish America
London: Henry Berthoud, and Suttaby, Evance and Fox, 1822

Maya scholar George Stuart (UNC Ph.D. 1975) has noted that the plates in this book represent “the very first published depictions of Maya writing carved on stone.” (Stuart, Search and Research: A Historical and Bibliographical Survey, n.d., p. 8)

Antonio del Río’s report on Palenque and Ricardo Almendáriz’s on-site drawings had been deposited in archives in Madrid. In 1822 Río’s text appeared in this English translation, with the drawings rendered as prints by Frédéric de Waldeck, a Frenchman who was inspired by his involvement in this book to explore the Maya ruins himself. The deficiencies of the volume's renderings can be seen by contrasting the image here with later ones of the famous relief (see Stephens and Catherwood and Maudslay in Archaeological Discovery).

The UNC copy of this book bears the ownership inscription of Lord James Townshend (1785-1842), a member of parliament in Great Britain who had served in the British Navy and saw action off Santo Domingo in 1806.

Presented by George E. and Melinda Y. Stuart
Rare Book Collection Stuart F1435.1 .P2 R5 1822