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Lawrence G. Desmond Moses Mesoamerican Archive and Research Project (MMARP) Photographs, 1982-2013

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Desmond (Lawrence) Mesoamerican Archive and Research Project (MARP) Photographs

Biographical/Historical Note

Archaeologist, author and photographer, Lawrence Gustave Desmond, was born in San Francisco in 1935. His interest in photography began as a pre-teen growing up in the nearby small town of San Carlos. After receiving a BA from the University of Santa Clara in 1957 Desmond saw active duty as a Coast Guard officer from 1957 to 1960 and served in the coast Guard Reserve through the 1960s, attaining the rank of Lieutenant Commander. He completed an MBA at San Jose State in 1964 and went on to a career in human resources and management development with Silicon Valley electronic manufacturing companies. During this period Desmond developed an interest in Mesoamerican archaeology to the extent that he left his business career to pursue studies first at the Universidad de Las Americas in Cholula, México, where he received an MA in cultural anthropology in 1979, and then at the University of Colorado, Boulder where he was awarded a PhD in anthropology and archeology in 1983. It was during his time at Boulder that he first became involved with the Moses Mesoamerican Archive and Research Project (MMARP) for which he ultimately became its unofficial photographer.

Desmond has carried out archaeological research in Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras for more than forty years. He has taught at the University of Minnesota and San Francisco State University and has published numerous articles about his archaeological and heritage preservation projects including geophysical and photogrammetric surveys at the Yucatán sites of Uxmal and Chichén Itzá. His work of 30 years researching the lives and work of Augustus and Alice Le Plongeon, who lived and traveled throughout Yucatán for ten years in the late 19th century, is the subject of his PhD dissertation and two books, A Dream of Maya: Augustus and Alice Le Plongeon in Nineteenth-century Yucatán, with Phyllis Messenger (1988) and Yucatán Through Her Eyes: Alice Dixon Le Plongeon, Writer & Expeditionary Photographer (2009).

Desmond is currently a senior research fellow in archaeology with the Moses Mesoamerican Archive and Research Project at Harvard University and a research associate with the Department of anthropology at the California Academy of Science in San Francisco. His blog ArcheoPlanet covers topics in archeology: Most recently Desmond has published a series of books documenting his life-long avocation of photography on the on-line platform Blurb, with titles ranging from Growing Up in California, 1947-1959: Toy Racers and Giant Salamanders to Mexico as It was. Life in the 1970s.

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