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Pursuing Detail: 1930 Tulane's Expedition to Uxmal

Uptown Campus
Consulate of Mexico in New Orleans

Pursuing Detail: 1930 Tulane’s Expedition to Uxmal

In 1930, Frans Blom, Director of the Middle American Research Institute at Tulane University, gathered an interdisciplinary team to travel to Yucatán in Mexico and conduct a detailed survey of the Nunnery Quadrangle in the ancient Maya city of Uxmal. The goal of the expedition was to document –draw, measure, make casts, and photograph– the architecture in order to build a full-scale faithful reproduction of the Quadrangle at the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair. The result is one of the most detailed and accurate architectural surveys of a Maya building complex before the recent development of digital technologies. However, this was not their only achievement: they discovered stelae and new hieroglyphic inscriptions, mapped the site, and conducted a thorough architectural study on the Nunnery that proved the ancient Maya architects had knowledge of perspective. This exhibit explores the motivations, procedures, and legacy of the expedition in order to highlight its significance for the study and documentation of Maya architectural heritage.


Laura Gilabert-Sansalvador (Universitat Politècnica de València, Spain) is a PhD Architect specialized in built heritage conservation and digital documentation. Her research focuses on construction techniques in ancient Maya architecture.

Middle American Research Institute

For more information on this event, please visit https://tulane.campuslabs.com/engage/event/8967327