ARTstor, in collaboration with the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard University, is pleased to announce the initial release of over 22,000 images of Mayan excavations. The images come from the renowned photographic archives of the Carnegie Institution of Washington (CIW), which documents archaeological excavations throughout Central America.

The Carnegie Institution sponsored archaeological excavations of Mayan sites in Mexico and Central America from 1913 to 1957. Carnegie researchers embarked on annual expeditions to the Yucatan peninsula, from the lowlands of Peten to the highlands of Guatemala, conducting archaeological reconnaissance, excavation, and restoration at sites such as Uaxactun, Copán, Pedras Negras, Yaxchilan, Coba, Quiriguá, Tayasal, Kaminaljuyu, and Chichen Itza. In 1929 the project began to take on a broader interdisciplinary approach, incorporating historical, linguistic, medical, ecological, sociological, and ethnographic studies of ancient, colonial, and modern Maya peoples. Many of the buildings, monuments, and artifacts recorded in these photographs no longer exist, or are so physically damaged or inaccessible as to be unavailable to most researchers. According to 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: “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.”

More than 40,000 of the Carnegie Institution negatives have been 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 when complete, the entire corpus of 55,000 images will be made available in the Digital Library.

To browse these new ARTstor images, from ARTstor’s Welcome Page click on “Image Gallery” and then select “Carnegie Institution of Washington Photographs of Mayan Excavations (Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University).”

For more information view the collection page online.