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Old but not ancient Basel


Lawrence Desmond


He's an expert on ancient Maya civilization, but Lawrence Desmond has come to Switzerland to reveal his Swiss roots.

(courtesy)

After a career spanning more than 40 years investigating ancient and modern cultures of Mesoamerica, Lawrence is now scratching the surface of Basel with an iPhone. He’s looking at how the city has changed since his mother grew up there nearly a century ago, before emigrating to California.

Lawrence has conducted decades-long archaeological research in Mexico and Guatemala and has taught at the University of Minnesota at Morris and San Francisco State University. His books, ‘A Dream of Maya’ (1988) and ‘Yucatán through Her Eyes’ (2009), examine the photography and studies of the ancient Maya by Alice and Augustus Le Plongeon, who worked in Yucatán in the 1870s. Lawrence is a Senior Research Fellow in Archaeology with the Moses Mesoamerican Archive and Research Project at Harvard University.

Follow Lawrence on his archaeology blog.

Swiss Story

Episode 3: Journey back in time

By Lawrence Desmond

Lawrence goes back to the 1940s to show us the Switzerland his mother rediscovered, after being away for 20 years. (Lawrence Desmond for ...

Swiss Story

Episode 4: Childhood in Basel

By Lawrence Desmond

Lawrence visits where his mother grew up. Follow Lawrence’s blog on archaeology here. (Lawrence Desmond for swissinfo.ch)

Swiss Story

Episode 5: Ferries and zithers

By Lawrence Desmond

Lawrence crosses the Rhine and hears from the ferryman what it was like in the past. Follow Lawrence’s blog on archaeology here. (Lawrence ...

Swiss Story

Episode 6: Gritli speaks

By Lawrence Desmond, Basel

Lawrence gets a lesson in Swiss-German dialect. His teacher in Basel helps translate an old recording of his mother describing an accident. 

Swiss Story

Episode 7: A house for refugees

By Lawrence Desmond, Basel

Lawrence revisits his grandparents house near the border with Germany and France. In the Second World War years, the family provided shelter for ...

Swiss Story

Episode 8: Arriving in California

By Lawrence Desmond

Lawrence looks back at his Swiss journey and returns to California. Follow Lawrence’s blog on archaeology here. (Lawrence Desmond for swissinfo.ch)

Swiss Story

Episode 10: Kids Swiss camp

By Lawrence Desmond

Lawrence meets the children at the Swiss camp in Newark California and watches them doing typical Swiss sports. Follow Lawrence’s blog on ...



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