Alice Dixon Le Plongeon

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For the Filipino artist, see Alice Dixson.
Portrait of Alice Dixon Le Plongeon, taken by her husband Augustus, ca. 1875

Alice Dixon Le Plongeon (1851 – 1910) was an English photographer, amateur archaeologist traveller, and author. Together with her husband Augustus Le Plongeon she spent eleven years living and working in southern Mexico and Central America photographing and studying the ruined cities of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization. The origins and history of the ruins were at that time obscure.

Together with her husband, she helped make some of the first photographs of ruins at Chichén Itzá and Uxmal. They developed several speculative theories concerning the origins of the Maya, which are today completely discounted by modern Mayanist scholarship but contributed to the emergence of Mayanism. The Le Plongeons believed the ancient Maya had been in direct communication with the lost continent of Atlantis and with ancient Egypt and that Jesus had been influenced by the Mayas and spoke the Yucatec language.

Alice had a strong interest in Spiritualism, Freemasonry, and the Rosicrucians, and was active in the Theosophical Society and a friend of Annie Besant. Her writings included Queen Moo's Talisman, a fanciful description of the ancient Maya royalty featuring the characters Queen Moo and Prince Coh (also known as Chacmool). Its title refers to a jade pendant that had been found in the ruins at Chichén Itzá that Alice wore. Her epic poem A Dream of Atlantis (1909–11) was published in The Word Magazine, a Theosophy serial. Alice was also an acquaintance of James Churchward, who wrote extensively about Mu (Lemuria), whose name came from the saga of Queen Moo.

Although her interpretations of the ancient Maya have been rejected, her documentation and recording of monuments and inscriptions at several Maya sites remains a useful repository of information.

Published works[edit]