Since his arrival in Mexico, he has shown an interest in archeology, although his vocation for explorations dates back to his younger years as a member of the Copenhagen Explorer Club. In 1922 he did his first job as a self-taught archaeologist in Lagartero (Macuspana, Tabasco). In 1923 he had his first commission as an explorer in Palenque from the newly created National Institute of Anthropology and History and since then he never stopped traveling. Unfortunately, there is not a complete catalog of the trips made by Frans Blom, mainly due to the zeal with which the universities of Tulane and California have treated the documents in their possession prior to their definitive departure from the United States in 1941 However, we will be documenting on this site each of your trips and the documents that the archive of your library in Na Bolom has and what we can collect with the will of our friends.
Frans Blom archaeological expeditions
Map of Palenque, 1955.
The Association has the expedition diaries of Frans Blom from 1941, in addition to the collection of maps he made after his arrival in Mexico.
This map is especially important because it can be seen, in addition to the geographic data that allowed our state to have a first map in 1960, the routes it followed on each of its expeditions after its return to Mexico.
Marked in green, the lines indicate the route and the year the trip was made, up to 1955. The trips made between 1922 and 1940 are in the possession of the universities of Tulane and California in the libraries of the Middle American Research Institute (MARI ) and Bancroft respectively.
There is a copy of that map in Na Bolom, where the routes of all the trips Blom made in that part of Chiapas are marked with a marker. The red and thick marks follow the course of the Jataté, the Lacanhá, Santo Domingo, the Usumacinta, cross the Miramar and Metzabok lagoons, pass through Bonampak, reach San Román, but do not penetrate the heart of Tzendales.
The first trip was made in April, still as explorer leader of the oil company "El Águila", for which he worked. In October he managed to return after Don Manuel Gamio hired him, convinced that the young explorer had the potential to coordinate the first archaeological work carried out on the site.
During her two-month stay she wrote her famous epistle diary for her mother "In the country of the great forests." He relates not only his passion for his daily work in charge of exploring the site, but his fascination for his new job. He concluded his work with a detailed essay that was published by the INAH in 1982 "The ruins of Palenque, Xupá and El Encanto".
In 1950 Frans declared: "I left a good salary at the oil company for a paltry income as a scientist, but I have never regretted it."
His close-up of Palenque served to determine the extent of the site and future expeditions by the Mexican government.
Led by Sylvanus Morley, the Uaxactún expedition was funded by the Carnegie Institute but did not have permits from the Government of Guatemala to conduct excavations, which is why Frans Blom limited himself to making the plans and notes that were of great importance to the culture. Maya.
While drawing up the site plan with a plank, he noted that from the pyramid E-7 the tops of the temples of EI, E-II, and E-III could be seen with a particular alignment: he suggested that these buildings had an astronomic observation function.
After a series of measurements, Carnegie Institute archaeologists confirmed that from these structures the sunrise aligned with the temples at Equinoxes and Solstices could be appreciated, and reaffirmed the initial discovery of the site proposed by Frans Blom, thus granting the Scientific base that was used hereafter for the other Mayan archaeological sites.
La Venta, 1925
In 1924 an anonymous donor from Tulane University gave a donation to create a research center for Mesoamerican studies. Frans Blom was selected to coordinate the first expedition, for which Oliver La Farge was hired to assist him. They left New Orleans on February 19, 1925, and the result of their findings was published in the book "Tribes and Temples" by him a year later.
La Venta was the first discovery of the transcendent expedition and was of enormous importance to the Olmec culture.
Three years before the Chicago World's Fair, an expedition organized by the Tulane University Middle American Research Institute (MARI) and led by Frans Blom, spent three months in Uxmal. Its main objective was to take molds of the facades of the Nunnery Quadrangle for a full-scale replica that was erected at the World's Fair, but other investigations were also carried out (Blom 1934). A professional surveyor, Robert H. Merrill, prepared an accurate plan of the Nunnery Quadrangle and the Temple of the Fortune Teller and a second plan on a smaller scale, offering greater coverage (Merrill 1930). Although the latter was far from complete and only indicates the location of the various central and peripheral groups, unfortunately, they cannot now be found in MARI