In 1839, the invention of the daguerreotype offered explorers a new way to document their travels, and within a year photographic pioneers were using the new medium to record archaeological sites across the Americas. Arthur Drooker follows in their footsteps, compiling over 100 photographs of sites from South and Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean. His moody monochrome images have a vintage flavour, ranging from melancholy landscapes of tumbled columns to strikingly geometric Aztec reliefs. Some compositions skillfully contrast old and new, with modern skyscrapers seemingly rising out of the crumbling walls of a 16th-century ruin. The accompanying text is brief but evocative, with just enough of each site’s history to stir the imagination.


This article is an extract from the full article published in World Archaeology Issue 50. Click here to subscribe