During the 1980’s, with permits from the respective Mexican government archaeology institutes, and in cooperation with local Campeche university professor Dr William Folan, and in cooperation with local scholars in Campeche and Yucatan, FLAAR initiated a photography rescue project at the Chenes style Maya ruins of Santa Rosa Xtampak.
We thank Eldon Leiter and Jack Sulak for funding and assistance doing this photography project.
The history of Santa Rosa Xtampak, a bibliography of who worked there before us, is all in three volumes of reports which FLAAR issued during the late 1980’s and following years of the ‘90’s. We have now scanned the Xerox copies (since the original photographs and negatives are buried in storage). If funding were available we could search through storage facilities and try to find the negatives and rescan them at high resolution. But in the meantime, we at least want to get the text available.
Which features of the palace are Chenes, and which aspects of masonry are potentially related to Puuc architecture, and whether towers are derived from Rio Bec architectural style are all aspects of further research. There are plenty of capable Mayanists already working on these styles. Our goal is to make as many of our photographs available as possible.
Wikipedia is not very informative on Santa Rosa Xtampak
It is remarkable how little information Wikipedia has on Santa Rosa Xtampak. Almost none of the dozen scholars who worked here over a hundred years are even mentioned.
Our photography was with professional quality cameras
It is rare that an archaeology project uses more than normal cameras. FLAAR used Hasselblad, Leica, and Nikon cameras at Santa Rosa Xtampak. For our photography of other Chenes, Rio Bec, and Puuc architecture we also used a 5x7 Linhof and an 8x10 inch Linhof cameras.
Plus all photography was done using a tripod. We doubt tripods were used in earlier research by Mayanists at Santa Rosa Xtampak.
We also lugged an electric generator up the hill so we could have lighting inside the vaulted rooms. So we sure hope we can find the missing negatives to scan them.
Creating a PDF of an old text requires equipment, and patience
Raising money for field research is relatively straightforward; but raising donations to handle, store, record, and process the field information, AFTER the field work, is rarely accomplished.
But at least we want to get a first volume scanned, and available. When you scan any document with text, the scanner software tries hard to put the words in their actual spelling. But you always have to correct the spelling of every page manually. Ironically, the million-dollar scanning projects of Gutenberg and Google and others, posted scanned junk on the Internet: they did not bother to correct the scanner’s mechanical mistakes, especially when a USA scanner faces accents on a Spanish or Mayan word.
So after we scan each page, one by one (with a scanner that can “read” the text), we turn it into Microsoft word, and proofread the entire document. This requires staff, and time (and patience).
Then we have to recreate the original page style, the original font (when possible) because we want to be sure that when the electronic (PDF) version is cited, that the citation is the same as the original hard-copy document.
This is why we are starting with one volume. We will try to get at least the other two volumes scanned, proofread, corrected, and put into PDF format in the coming months.
Many people lock their PDFs, which makes it impossible to copy-and-paste. We are trying to make our PDFs open, so that students, scholars, and lay people who are seriously interested in the architecture and archaeology of the Maya can copy and paste segments if this helps in their own studies.
Another goal is to provide instructors and professors, more material for their students
Peer-reviewed journals charge outrageous prices for tiny articles. Since we wish to assist students and scholars, we make our FLAAR Reports available at no cost.
So if you wish to use the FLAAR Reports in your course or seminar, simply link to our maya-archaeology.org web site where your students can download the reports at no cost.
Posted Feb. 5, 2015.