Alfred Percival Maudslay (Biographical details)

Alfred Percival Maudslay (archaeologist; British; Male; 18 March 1850 - January 1931)

Also known as

Maudslay, Alfred Percival


Archaeologist, referred to as 'The father of Maya archaeology'. Born Norwood, London into an engineering family; his cousin, Thomas Henry Maudslay conducted excavations in Jerusalem. He first visited Central America in 1870 as part of his studies of anatomy and botany in Cambridge. After graduation he entered the Colonial Service in Trinidad, Australia and Fiji (1872-80), during which time he developed an interest in ethnography. Revisited Central America in 1880 and thereafter directed seven expeditions to the Mayan sites of Tikal, Yaxchilan, Copan, Quirigua, Palenque, Chichen Itza and Ixkun, during which time he employed photography and mould-making as alternative recording techniques (1881-94); the moulds and subsequent plaster casts were made by the Italian formatore Lorenzo Giuntini (q.v.) who was later employed on a similar expedition to Persepolis in Iran. Maudslay's publications include 'Biologia Centrali-Americana', 5 vols, London 1889-1902. He was buried with his wife in Hereford Cathedral.
Received Honorary Doctorates of Science from Oxford and Cambridge Universities.
See AOA Ethdoc 1979 - copies of BM Trustees' Minutes, Book of Presents entries relating to the transfer of the collection from the Victoria & Albert Museum.


Ian Graham, "Alfred Maudslay and the Discovery of the Maya", 'Collectors and Collections, The British Museum Yearbook' 2, pp. 136-55 (London 1977); Ian Graham, 'Alfred Maudslay and the Maya: A Biography' (London: British Museum Press, 2002).