ARTstor is pleased to announce that it has reached an agreement with the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University, through which ARTstor will distribute for non-commercial, educational and scholarly use a rich body of digital images related to Pre-Columbian archaeology, as well as images of Pre-Columbian, African, Native North American, and Oceanic objects from the museum’s collections.

Through this collaboration, ARTstor will distribute approximately 55,000 digital images from the renowned photographic archives of the Carnegie Institution of Washington (CIW) which document early archaeological excavations throughout Central America. These photographs were produced in a series of important archaeological excavations, mostly at Maya sites, during the period 1929-1957. The CIW closed in 1958, and the Peabody Museum subsequently acquired the archive. More than 40,000 of the CIW negatives have been digitized by the museum through grants from the Harvard University Library Digital Initiative. ARTstor is supporting the digitization of the remaining 15,000 negatives, and the entire corpus will be made available via ARTstor. ARTstor will also distribute up to 90,000 digital images of the Peabody Museum’s remarkable collections of archaeological artifacts and art objects.

William L. Fash Jr., the William and Muriel Seabury Howells Director of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard University and the Charles P. Bowditch Professor of Central American and Mexican Archaeology and Ethnology in the Harvard Anthropology Department, attests to the importance of this collaboration. “The research done by the Carnegie Institution of Washington in its investigations of ancient Maya civilization is regarded as a ‘golden age’ in Maya archaeology, so it is a great step forward that ARTstor will make the Carnegie photographic archives available online. Major long-term large-scale research projects of a bygone era can now be visited by scholars, students, and laymen, including images never before published or even known about prior to this venture. This will be an invaluable resource for generations to come.” Distinguished Mayanist Stephen Houston, Professor of Anthropology and Archaeology at Brown University, echoes this assessment. “The photographic holdings of the Peabody Museum at Harvard are a godsend to scholarship and, through the holdings of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, a key resource to understanding the ancient Maya and other peoples of Mesoamerica.”

Founded in 1866, the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard is one of the oldest museums in the world devoted to anthropology. It houses one of the most comprehensive records of human cultural history in the Western Hemisphere. The museum’s archaeological holdings comprise the bulk of its collections, and number in the millions. The museum’s greatest strengths are in the Americas and Eurasia. Archaeological materials from Central America are unparalleled, and those from South America are among the finest in the world. North American archaeological collections include Paleoindian and Archaic materials and represent comprehensively the more recent past cultures of Eastern, Southeastern, and Southwestern peoples. Materials from Neolithic through Iron Age Europe are also well represented in Peabody holdings, along with Paleolithic and younger collections from the Middle East and Southern and Central Asia. The Peabody Museum engages in ongoing anthropological discourse through exhibitions, workshops, symposia and publications. In addition to supporting the work of faculty and students at Harvard, the museum serves a wide public audience through educational programs. The present collaboration with ARTstor will significantly advance those educational and outreach efforts.

The fruits of this project will be available to ARTstor users in the course of 2007.