ARTstor, in collaboration with the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard University, has added approximately 14,000 images of Mayan excavations, bringing the collection to more than 36,000 images available in the Digital Library. The newly added images come from the renowned photographic archives of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, 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, 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 Mayan 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 and the Charles P. Bowditch Professor of Central American and Mexican Archaeology and Ethnology in Harvard’s 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 digitized by the museum through grants from the Harvard University Library Digital Initiative. ARTstor is supporting 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 and view the images in this collection: from the “Welcome Page,” click on “ARTstor Collections,” and then choose “Carnegie Institution of Washington Photographs of Mayan Excavations (Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University).”

For more detailed information about this collection, visit the Carnegie Institution of Washington Photographs of Mayan Excavations page.