Loss, Recuperation, and Identity

Charnay/Second Palace at Mitla, Mexico
The results of a documentation campaign sponsored by the French government in 1859, Charnay's photographs illustrate the ruins of the site of Mitla in southern Mexico. Mitla, built between 800–1200 A.D., was a major center of Mixtec culture. Charnay later wrote, "these ruins fixed my resolve to make archaeology the business of my life." His views were published in France as woodblock engravings, powerful images of transience and loss that record the traces of a once-great civilization.