Video: Journey into the Heart of Campeche

by Richard L. Thornton, Architect and City Planner

Video Three of the three part series on the Mayas of Campeche puts you in a time machine and takes you back to the summer of 1970. You will be traveling through a land and time, where there were very few paved roads or road signs. There were no metal fences, no TV signals, no supermarkets, no stores, no gasoline stations, no pharmacies, no restaurants, no electric or telephone lines, (of course) no cellular phones, no public bathrooms, no toilet paper for sale anywhere, no rivers, no streams, no sidewalks, no hospitals, no ambulances, no fire trucks and if there were any local law enforcement officers, they were invisible.

After visiting and studying the fourteen Campeche Maya city sites*, assigned to me by my fellowship coordinator, Dr. Román Piña Chán, Ana and I still had the urge to explore and were getting along VERY WELL. We decided to go daringly, where no college sweethearts had gone before . . . the uncharted lands of the Eastern Puuc Hill Country. It was not just a matter of a young couple, deciding to go for a joy ride. We had to carry all of our food, water, toiletries, camping equipment and gasoline in the back of Ana’s Jeep.

*My fellowship syllabus required me to visit and study ALL the major Pre-Columbian city sites in Mexico! I am creating a series of videos about that experience, which are posted on Youtube’s People of One Fire Channel.

This batch of 51-year old slides have survived time much better than most of the slides that you have seen of individual archaeological zones in Mexico. I never even looked at them! They went directly from the Kodak carton into tightly jammed slots in a metal slide box. Since they were not images of famous Maya cities, I never put them in a slide projector to show to my students at Georgia Tech or at future slide lectures . . . where they would be exposed to high heat, intense light and dust floating in the air. It took very little effort to restore these slides to a state approaching their original image.

You are going to see a world, now gone with the wind. There are many photos of traditional Maya buildings, which were in active use. Today some types are primarily built to please the tourists, but you will never seen the farmstead compounds that I photographed. Hope you enjoy this expedition into the past.

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