Davies, (Claude) Nigel (Byam) 1920-2004
DAVIES, (Claude) Nigel (Byam) 1920-2004
OBITUARY NOTICE— See index for CA sketch: Born September 2, 1920, in Hendon, England; died September 25, 2004. Businessman, politician, archaeologist, and author. Davies is best remembered as an expert on Aztec culture, though it is a career he started late in life. Educated at Eton and spending 1937 at the University of Aix-en-Provence, after attending the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst he joined the Grenadier Guards and worked in military intelligence during World War II. His first career was in the business world, where he was managing director of the glazing company Windolite Ltd. in Harlow, England, from 1947 until 1961. During that time, he also tried politics. He was elected to Parliament as a conservative representing the Epping division of Essex from 1950 to 1951. But Davies quickly learned that being a freshman politician could be a frustratingly impotent position, and he abandoned that career. Moving to Mexico City in 1962, he became fascinated with the ancient Aztec and Toltec cultures. Even though he was already in his forties, he decided to go back to school to study archaeology, earning his doctorate from the University of London in 1970. He then returned to Mexico and embarked on a successful research and writing career, publishing the well-received The Aztecs: A History in 1973. This was followed by several more books about pre-Hispanic history, including The Toltecs: Until the Fall of Tula (1977), The Ancient Kingdoms of Mexico (1983), The Aztec Empire: The Toltec Resurgence (1987), and The Ancient Kingdoms of Peru (1997). In these and other books, Davies strove to resolve inconsistencies and inaccuracies in previously published books. His contributions to history were recognized by the Mexican government, which awarded him the Aztec Eagle in 1981.
OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:
Times (London, England), November 25, 2004, p. 72.