Buried Cities, Forgotten Gods

Buried Cities, Forgotten Gods

William Niven's Life of Discovery and Revolution in Mexico and the American Southwest

Book - 1999
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"I will go no further," William Niven’s Indian guide declared. "Beyond on every ridge, as far as you can see is all a part of one great City of the Dead . . . the gods will permit no man to go further and from here I return." Niven, however, did continue on and discovered a remarkable expanse of ruins in the rugged state of Guerrero along Mexico’s western coast. During the early 1890s, Niven’s explorations were sponsored by the American Museum of Natural History. Later, he continued to explore on his own. His photographs, letters, diaries, and newspaper accounts are now the only source of information on many sites that were later destroyed by grave robbers, neglect, and the turmoil of the Mexican Revolution in 1911. His later discovery of twenty-six hundred inscribed stone tablets in the Valley of Mexico aroused considerable controversy, and inspired James Churchward to put forth an occult interpretation of the origins of the Native Americans in The Lost Continent of Mu (1926). They remain controversial to this day. The writer Katherine Anne Porter frequented Niven’s excavations in the Valley of Mexico and based her first published short story, "María Concepción," on her experiences there. She would write that the "Old Man never carried a gun, never locked up his money, sat on political dynamite and human volcanoes and never bothered to answer his slanderers. He bore a charmed life. Nothing would ever happen to him." Niven was planning a book about his experiences, but was unable to complete it because of ill health. Buried Cities, Forgotten Gods is based upon his surviving manuscripts and personal papers.


Book News
Niven (1850-1937) was a prominent mineralogist whose expedition to Mexico under the auspices of the American Museum of Natural History in the 1890s led to many important archaeological discoveries, which he meticulously documented in letters, journals, and newspaper articles. This volume offers an account of his adventures and discoveries based on his first-hand descriptions, with plentiful b&w photographs, drawings, and maps. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Publisher: Lubbock, Tex. : Texas Tech University Press, c1999
ISBN: 9780896724143
089672414X
Branch Call Number: 302.092 W633b 1999
Characteristics: xiii, 318 p. : ill., maps ; 24 cm
Additional Contributors: Harrison, Roland H

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