Maya Indians of Yucatan

Maya Indians of Yucatan

Maya Indians of Yucatan

Maya Indians of Yucatan

Excerpt

Today the northern part of the Yucatan peninsula presents a picture of contrasts. Towns along the railroad flourish with the automobiles, electric lights, and radios from our modern civilization; in remote towns, chiefly Indian in population, people travel on foot or by horse, use candles or tiny oil lamps, and depend upon peddlers for news. Here life proceeds with monotonous routine, centered around the gathering and preparing of food. The inhabitants are agricultural and peaceloving, as were their forefathers, who occupied many of the sites upon which towns now exist. The numerous ruins of large and beautifully built ancient cities manifest an organization which must have been of high quality, and a leadership by men of great ability and authority, yet today only the stone structures, overgrown with shrubs and trees remain to tell a story of desolation and abandonment.

The Carnegie Institution of Washington has for many years been conducting research in the Maya field - archaeologists devoting their attention to the pre-Spanish period, documentary historians to the times subsequent to the conquest, while social anthropologists have been studying the life of the present-day Maya. Concurrently, there have been made, by members of Carnegie Institution and by cooperating workers from other institutions, surveys of the biology and geology of the region, and observations upon health conditions among the modern Maya. The studies contained in the following report were undertaken as part of this general program.

In 1928 Dr. C. B. Davenport, then Director of the Department of Genetios of Carnegie Institution, was working on the . . .

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