The Benson Latin American Collection

Samuel L. Lewis Photograph Collection of Pre-Columbian Archaeological Sites in Mexico, 1961

Descriptive Summary

Creator Lewis, Samuel L., d. 1993
Title Samuel L. Lewis Photograph Collection of Pre-Columbian Archaeological Sites in Mexico
Dates: 1961
Abstract 24 black-and-white photographs of archeological ruins in Mexico.
OCLC Record No. 33285965
Extent 24 photographs
Language English
Repository Benson Latin American Collection, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Sketch

Attorney. Born 1896 in Stillwater, Oklahoma; died 1993 in Dallas, Texas. Graduate of the University of Texas; received law degree in the late 1920s from George Washington University. Lewis practiced law in Dallas before joining the army during World War II. He retired from the military as a lieutenent colonel. In the late 1950s, Lewis and his family moved to Jalapa, Mexico. In 1961 he took the photographs which comprise this collection. The Lewises returned to Dallas in 1969 and he resumed the practice of law, which he pursued until 1992.

Scope and Contents Note

Twenty-four black and white photographs made in 1961 of pre-Columbian archaeological sites in Mexico. Photographs are mounted, dated, and bear detailed captions; they range in size from 4x6 inches to 8x10 inches. Subjects of the photographs are Teotihuacan (Pyramid of the Sun; close-ups of decorations in the Temple of Quetzalcoatl, including the stone carving of the Plumed Serpent); El Tajin (Pyramid of the Nitches, El Tajin Chico, stone drum from the Temple of the Columns); Calixtlahuaca (Temple of Quetzalcoatl); Castillo del Teayo (statue of the god Xipe, Toltec pyramid); pyramids at Cempoala; Monte Alban (ball court, temples, and pyramids); Mitla (details of stone carvings and design); Xochicalco (ball court, temple, and carvings); and a carved stone at the Museum of Veracruz depicting a high priest confronting the god Tlatoc, the god of water.


Access Restrictions


Use Restrictions

Standard copyright restrictions apply.

Index Terms

The Samuel L. Lewis Photograph Collection of Pre-Columbian Archaeological Sites in Mexico is classified under the following Subject Headings in the University of Texas Libraries' catalog:
Castillo de Teayo Site (Mexico)--Antiquities--Photographs
Mitla Site (Mexico)--Antiquities--Photographs
Monte Alban Site (Mexico)--Antiquities--Photographs
Tajin Site (Mexico)--Antiquities--Photographs
Teotihuacan Site (Mexico)--Antiquities--Photographs
Calixtlahuaca (Mexico)--Antiquities--Photographs
Cempoala (Veracruz, Mexico)--Antiquities--Photographs
Xochicalco (Mexico)--Antiquities--Photographs
Indians of Mexico--Antiquities--Photographs

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Cite as: Samuel L. Lewis Photograph Collection of Pre-Columbian Archaeological Sites in Mexico, Benson Latin American Collection, University of Texas Libraries, the University of Texas at Austin.

Box and Folder Inventory


List of Photographs

box folder
1 1 Teotihuacan. Pyramid of the Sun viewed from a distance of two miles. The black specks on stairway are people.
2 Teotihuacan. Decorations in the Temple Quetzalcoatl.
3 Teotihuacan. Plumed Serpent. A close-up of the stone carving in the Temple of Quetzalcoatl.
4 El Tajin. Part of archaeological zone. The Pyramid of the Nitches is surrounded by unexcavated mounds.
5 El Tajin. El Tajin Chico. This is the reconstructed part of the archaeological zone. This is from the same point as #4, merely turning 45 degrees to the left.
6 El Tajin. Pyramid of the Nitches. The grand staircase in the front. The Mexican Boy Scouts and Sea Scouts were exploring a national monument.
7 El Tajin. Stone drum from Temple of the Columns. The roof of the temple was supported by columns made of such stones set one on top of the other. The carving shows Totonac Indian types.
8 Calixtlahuaca. Temple of Quetzalcoatl. The rounding of the back part is characteristic of temples erected to the god Quetzalcoatl.
9 Castel de Teayo. Toltec pyramid. This pyramid stands in the center of the village square. It is surrounded by many stone idols and carvings discovered in the vicinity.
10 Castel de Teayo. The god Xipe. The skin was flayed from the sacrificial victim and then the priest was dressed in the skin. Note the lacing across the chest although it is more usual for the lacing to appear at the back.
11 Museum of Archaeology of Vera Cruz State, Xalapa. A high priest confronting the god Tlatoc. Tlaloc was the god of water, hence closely related to production of food.
12 Cempoala Archaeological Zone. Before these pyramids stood Cortez and all the men of the Conquest. The first mass was held inthe larger pyramid. Cempoala is estimated to have been a city of more than 200,000 inhabitants.
13 Cempoala. This shows the type and detail of the smaller pyramid.
14 Cempoala. This pyramid stands over four hundred yards from the other pyramids. It was, in part, Zompantle in which clay bas-reliefs were made of the sacrificial victims and placed along the inside of the platform wall.
15 Monte Alban. The interior of temple in the foreground and the courtyard surrounded by pyramids. Two pyramids stand in the center of the courtyard.
16 Monte Alban. The staircase from the courtyard of the temple shown in the foreground of #15.
17 Monte Alban. The pyramid at the southwest corner of the courtyard. Standing along the wall are the carved stones commonly called "danzantes."
18 Monte Alban. The ball court. When the ball game was ceremonial the loser became a sacrificial victim.
19 Mitla. This archaeological zone was primarily a necropolis, the burial place of kings and high priests. It is famous for its intricate and ornate inlade stone designs.
20 Mitla. The inlaid stone elaboration in the room of the high priest.
21 Mitla. A close-up of the design in the right corner of #20. The stones were cut and fitted with the use of metal tools.
22 Xochicalco. This is one of the temples and pyramids of an important zone. The stone carvings and decorations are justly famous. Excavation and study is continuing at this site.
23 Xochicalco. A closer and more detailed study of one corner of the temple in #22.
24 Xochicalco. The ball court. Note the difference in construction from the ball court at Monte Alban, #18.