Zelia Nuttall

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Zelia Nuttall
Zelia Nuttall.jpg
Zelia Nuttall
Born September 6, 1857
San Francisco
Died April 12, 1933(1933-04-12) (aged 75)
Casa de Alvarado, Coyoacán, Mexico
Nationality United States
Occupation archaeologist
Known for Mexican archaeology
Spouse(s) Alphonse Pinart
Children Nadine Nuttall Laughton
Parent(s) Robert Kennedy Nuttall, Magdalena Parrott
Relatives George Nuttall

Zelia Maria Magdalena Nuttall (September 6, 1857 – April 12, 1933) was an American archaeologist and anthropologist.


Nuttall was born at San Francisco in 1857 to Dr. Robert Kennedy Nuttall and Magdalena Parrott.[1] She specialised in pre-Columbian Mesoamerican manuscripts and the pre-Aztec culture in Mexico. She traced the Mixtec codex now called the Codex Zouche-Nuttall and wrote the introduction to its first facsimile publication.[2]

She was educated in France, Germany, and Italy, and at Bedford College, London. She first came into prominence on the publication of her work on the "Terra Cotta Heads of Teotihuacan" in the American Journal of Archaeology (1886).[3] She was appointed Special Assistant of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard, and was named Honorary Professor of Archaeology at the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico.[1]

She was the basis for D.H. Lawrence's character Mrs. Norris in his novel The Plumed Serpent.[1]


  • Nuttall, Zelia (1891). The atlatl or spear-thrower of the ancient Mexicans. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology. OCLC 3536622. 
  • Nuttall, Zelia (1901) [1901]. The fundamental principles of Old and New World civilizations : a comparative research based on a study of the Ancient Mexican religious, sociological and calendrical systems. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology. OCLC 219742748. 
  • Nuttall, Zelia (1983) [1903]. The book of the life of the ancient Mexicans : containing an account of their rites and superstitions : an anonymous Hispano-Mexican manuscript preserved at the Biblioteca nazionale centrale, Florence, Italy. Berkeley: University of California Press. OCLC 10719260. 
  • Nuttall, Zelia (1904) [1904]. A Penitential Rite of the Ancient Mexicans. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Museum. OCLC 2991502. 
  • Nuttall, Zelia (1910). The island of Sacrificios. New Era Printing Co., 1910, 39pp. (Reprinted from: American Anthropologist, vol. XII, no. 2, April–June 1910.) OCLC 29606682
  • Nuttall, Zelia; Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa; Nuno da Silva (1914) [1914]. New Light on Drake: Documents Relating to his Voyage of Circumnavigation 1577-1580. London: Hakluyt Society. OCLC 2018572. 


  1. ^ a b c Adams, Amanda (2010). Ladies of the field : early women archaeologists and their search for adventure. Vancouver ; Berkeley [Calif.]: Greystone Book. pp. 65–87. ISBN 9781553654339. 
  2. ^ (Peabody Museum, Harvard), 1902
  3. ^ "Zelia Maria Magdalena Nuttall". Encyclopædia Britannica. 2016. Retrieved 2016-11-15. 


Chiñas, Beverley Newbold (1989). "Zelia Maria Magdalena Nuttall". In Ute Gacs; Aisha Khan; Jerrie McIntyre; Ruth Weinberg. Women Anthropologists: Selected Biographies (Illini Books edition, Reprint of Westport, CT: Greenwood Press original [©1988]. ed.). Urbana: University of Illinois Press. pp. 269–274. ISBN 0-252-06084-9. OCLC 19670310. 
Tozzer, Alfred M. (July–September 1933). "Zelia Nuttall" (PDF online reproduction). American Anthropologist New Series. Arlington, VA: American Anthropological Association and affiliated societies. 35 (3): 475–482. doi:10.1525/aa.1933.35.3.02a00070. OCLC 1479294. 

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