Frans Blom

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Frans Blom in 1922.
Casa Na Bolom

Frans Blom (August 9, 1893 – June 23, 1963) was a Danish explorer and archaeologist. He was most associated with his research of the Maya civilization of Mexico and Central America. [1][2]

Biography[edit]

Frants Ferdinand Blom was born in Copenhagen, Denmark to a middle-class family of antique merchants. He passed a matriculation exam at Rungsted and received a trade education in Germany and Belgium. He started travelling, eventually reaching Mexico in 1919, where he found work in the oil industry conducting map and geologically survey the states of Veracruz, Tabasco, and Chiapas. Travelling to remote locations in the Mexican jungle, he became interested in the Maya ruins which he encountered where he was working. He started drawing and documenting these ruins. After he showed his work to the National Museum of Anthropology (Mexico), it financed some of his expeditions. [3]

In 1922 he could leave the oil industry following a bout of malaria. He met American archaeologist and Mesoamerican scholar Sylvanus G. Morley (1883–1948) who was conducting fieldwork in Mexico and Central America. Morley brought Blom to Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts where he received a formal education in archeology for two semesters during 1922–23. [4]

From 1923, he taught at Tulane University in New Orleans and during his tenure, he undertook several expeditions to Mesoamerica. In 1923 his studies at Palenque documented a number of features neglected by earlier researchers. In 1924 Blom excavated the Maya archaeological site of Uaxactun in Guatemala. From his explorations around the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, he wrote some of the first scholarly reports of a number of sites of the Olmec civilization. During 1925, he traveled with American anthropologist Oliver La Farge (1901–1963) to what is now known as the Olmec heartland. In 1926 he was made head of Tulane's newly established Department of Middle American Research.[5]

In 1932 he was married to the American Mary Thomas, but six years later they were divorced. Blom acquired an alcohol habit which later forced him to retire from the university. Blom moved to Mexico, where in 1943, he met Swiss photographer Gertrude “Trudi” Duby (1901–1993), whom he married. [6] [7]

In 1950, the Bloms bought a large house in San Cristóbal de las Casas. This house was dubbed Casa Na Bolom - "House of Blom or the Jaguar" The Bloms turned the house into a cultural and scientific center with rooms for visitors, with Gertrude continuing the enterprise for decades after Frans’ death. The house became a home base for expeditions and archeology, such as the nearby Moxviquil and noted expeditions into the Lacandon Jungle. The Bloms continued undertaking expeditions for the Mexican government. Blom died in 1963, at age 70 at San Cristóbal de Las Casas in Chiapas, Mexico. His former residence now functions as the site of the museum Na Bolom. [8]

Selected works[edit]

  • I de store Skove : Breve fra Meksiko (1923)
  • Tribes and Temples (1926-1927)
  • Conquest of Yucatan (1936)
  • La selva Lacandona (1955), with Gertrude Duby

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Frans Blom". Na Bolom Cultural Association. Retrieved September 1, 2020.
  2. ^ "Frans Blom". Asociación Cultural Na Bolom. Retrieved September 1, 2020.
  3. ^ "Frans Blom". Dansk Biografisk Leksikon. Retrieved September 1, 2020.
  4. ^ Eric S. Thompson. "Sylvanus Griswold Morley, 1883-1948". American Anthropologist 51, 1949. Retrieved September 1, 2020.
  5. ^ "Oliver La Farge". The University of Texas at Austin, Harry Ransom Center. Retrieved September 1, 2020.
  6. ^ "Gertrude Blom, 92, Long a Chronicler Of Mayan Cultures". The New York Times. Retrieved September 1, 2020.
  7. ^ "Gertrude Duby de Blom". Asociación Cultural Na Bolom. Retrieved September 1, 2020.
  8. ^ "Frans Blom". Den Store Danske. Retrieved September 1, 2020.

Other sources[edit]

  • Brunhouse, Robert L. (1975). Pursuit of the Ancient Maya: Some Archaeologists of Yesterday. University of New Mexico Press. pp. 168-214.
  • Johansen, Steen (2003). Fra jaguarens hus - en beretning om mayaforskeren Frans Blom. Spring. ISBN 87-90326-51-2..
  • Leifer, Tore; Jesper Nielsen; Toke Sellner (2002). Reunert: Det urolige blod - Biografi om Frans Blom. Høst & Søn. ISBN 87-14-29826-0..
  • Leifer, Tore; Nielsen, Jesper; Sellner Reunert, Toke (2017). Restless Blood: Frans Blom, Explorer and Maya Archaeologist. Middle America Research Institute.

External links[edit]