Tatiana Proskouriakoff: Interpreting the Ancient Maya

Hardcover (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $6.90
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 80%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (7) from $6.90   
  • New (2) from $35.20   
  • Used (5) from $6.90   


Born in Siberia during a turbulent period in Russian history, Tatiana Proskouriakoff came to America with her family when her father was commissioned during World War I by Czar Nicholas II to oversee the production of munitions in the United States. With the Czar’s abdication and the onset of the Russian Revolution, the Proskouriakoffs’ brief visit became a relocation.

Proskouriakoff excelled in art and completed a degree in architecture. She entered the field of Mesoamerican archaeology in the mid-1930s as a draftsperson and artist for a University of Pennsylvania archaeological project in the Petén rainforest of Guatemala. During her career, which spanned fifty years, Proskouriakoff became known for her thorough scholarship. In her landmark work, An Album of Maya Architecture, Proskouriakoff combined her artistic talents and architectural background to produce a vision of ancient Maya sites, such as Copán and Chichen Itza, at the height of their grandeur. By the end of her life, she had become one of the premier scholars of Mayan civilization.

In this first full-length biography of Proskouriakoff, Char Solomon chronicles the life of this remarkable woman.

For more information about this title, please visit www.charsolomon.com.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Traci Arden
No scholar is more beloved by Mayanists than Tatiana Proskouriakoff, the Russian-born archaeologist and artist whose reconstruction drawings of sites duch as Piedras Negras and Copan are world famous...A new biography of this amazing scholar, Tatiana Proskouriakoff: Interpreting the Ancient Maya...is sure to fascinate readers...Filled with a large supporting cast of colorful characters and absorbing details of early archaeological expeditions to the Maya world, [it] wins over the reader with a compelling portrait of one of archaeology's most important early personalities.
Archaeology, Jan-Feb. 2003
Sam Hodges
"If you're in a women's book club that needs a good selection for March - Women's History Month - consider "Tatiana Proskouriakoff." The title is a mouthful. But the book is a concise, moving account of a Russian-born American who made a huge mark in the male-dominated field of Maya studies...Proskouriakoff came to the United States as a girl when her father ran a Russian munitions program here. The Russian Revolution forced the family to stay. "Tania" grew up in Philadelphia and went to Penn State, where she was a rare female student in architecture. She began her career doing measurements and sketches for archaeologists studying what's left of the ancient Maya cities of Central America. For four decades, she traveled regularly to the sites, enduring rugged travel, primitive conditions and political upheaval. Her drawings imagining Maya cities in their heyday thrilled specialists and helped others to appreciate the ancient Maya culture. She also did crucial analysis of Maya hieroglyphs...This book draws on journals kept by the never-married Proskouriakoff. These reveal that she suffered self-doubt. She was often lonely, and had complicated relationships with male colleagues. None of that stopped Proskouriakoff, which is one reason Solomon...feels she...is too important to be a legend only within Maya studies. Young women in particular, need to know the Proskouriakoff story."
The Charlotte Observer Book Editor
"This intimate biography of a revered scholar in Maya studies describes the problems and pleasures of archaeological fieldwork, the organization of research, and the personalitites of well-known archaeologists...Rich in details about Proskourikoff's work and her personal life, the book is derived from her diary, correspondence, and interviews with colleagues, friends, and family; the author herself had talked with Proskouriakoff while assisting her in museum studies. The book will attract general readers and anyone interested in the ancient Maya."
Vol 41, No. 01 (September, 2003)
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780806134451
  • Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 1,389,470
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.70 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Char Solomon, a freelance writer and researcher, served as a volunteer assistant to Tatiana Proskouriakoff from 1972 to 1973 when she worked on Proskouriakoff's catalog of Maya jade. A talented artist in her own right, she has taught music for more than twenty years.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Ch. 1 The Russian Years 3
Ch. 2 A New Beginning (1916-1925) 11
Ch. 3 Architecture at Penn State and Beyond (1926-1935) 20
Ch. 4 Into the Jungle: The University of Pennsylvania Expeditions (1936-1938) 28
Ch. 5 Copan and the Carnegie Institution of Washington (1939) 41
Ch. 6 The War Years (1940-1944) 60
Ch. 7 Reconnaissance Trips through Central America (1944-1947) 80
Ch. 8 Mayapan and the Demise of the Carnegie Division of Historical Research (1947-1958) 99
Ch. 9 Resolution and Changing Priorities (1954-1958) 126
Ch. 10 Research, Hieroglyphs, and Further Adventure (1958-1965) 137
Ch. 11 Seminars, Jades, and Accolades (1965-1985) 149
Ch. 12 The Ceremony of the Ashes (1998) 168
Notes 173
Selected Writings of Tatiana Proskouriakoff 197
Bibliography 201
Index 209
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)