Ricardo Almendáriz

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Illustration by Almendáriz of a stucco relief at Palenque. The relief, dating to ca. 670CE, appears on the exterior face of Pier E in House A, part of the central complex of buildings known as the Palace (el Palacio).The drawing is a copy made from the original (now lost) engraving executed by Almendáriz during his visit to the site in 1787.
Contemporary photograph of the same feature, taken in 2008.

Ricardo Almendáriz (fl. 1787) was a Guatemalan draftsman who accompanied Antonio del Río to the first excavation of pre-Columbian Maya ruins at Palenque in Chiapas, Mexico.[1] Undertaken in May and June 1787, the expedition was performed under orders from Charles III of Spain to investigate reports about the ruins from the inhabitants of the neighboring pueblo of Santo Domingo de Palenque.[1] The team spent two weeks digging at the location followed by three weeks studying the site.[2]

Almendáriz made thirty drawings of the bas relief sculptures at the Palenque ruins.[1] These drawings were intended to accompany del Río's written report, which was dated June 24, 1787.[1] According to George Stuart, writing for the Kislak Foundation, the del Río report "ranks as the first substantial archaeological report known in the Americas."[3] Almendáriz's drawings of Palenque are "remarkably accurate for the era" and depict features of Palenque that have since been destroyed from exposure. For this reason they remain scientifically useful.[3]

The Almendáriz drawings were copied for archival purposes.[3] The most complete set of contemporary copies belongs to the library of the Royal Palace in Madrid.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d Stuart 2007: 154
  2. ^ "Eighteenth-Century Drawings of Palenque". Library of Congress. Retrieved 2009-11-05.
  3. ^ a b c d Stuart 2007: 156


García Sáiz, María Concepción (1994). "Antonio del Río y Guillermo Dupaix: el reconocimiento de una deuda histórica" (PDF online reproduction, Universidad de La Rioja). Anales del Museo de América (in Spanish). Madrid: Museo de América, Ministerio de Cultura. 2: 99–119. ISSN 1133-8741. OCLC 445101005.
Río, Antonio del (1822) [1786]. Description of the Ruins of an Ancient City, discovered near Palenque, in the Kingdom of Guatemala, in Spanish America: Translated from the original manuscript report of captain Don Antonio del Río: Followed by Teatro Crítico Americano; or, A critical investigation and research into The History of the Americans (Online reproduction at Paul Felix Cabrera (trans. and ed.). London: Henry Berthoud, and Suttaby, Evance and Fox. OCLC 55254809.
Stuart, George (2007). "492. Almendáriz, Ricardo, fl. ca. 1787" (PDF). In Arthur Dunkelman (ed.). The Jay I. Kislak Collection at the Library of Congress: a catalog of the gift of the Jay I. Kislak Foundation to the Library of Congress (PDF online reproduction). With essays by Ralph E. Ehrenberg, Norman Fiering, John Lombardi, Jerald T. Milanich, Robert J. Sharer, and George E. Stuart. Washington, DC: Library of Congress. pp. 154–156. ISBN 978-0-8444-1180-4. OCLC 177817935.

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