Symbols, Spring 2006
RGL call number: A S987
...[T]he Carnegie Institution of Washington (CIW) sponsored excavations at nearly 1,000 archaeological sites for over thirty years. These excavations were supervised by notable archaeologists such as Alfred Kidder, Sylvanus Orley, Harry Pollock, Eric Thompson, Ledyard Smith, Edwin Shook, and Tatiana Proskouriakoff. When CIW closed its anthropology division in 1958, the Peabody Museum acquired the archival records of the their excavations, including over 50,000 black-and-white negatives and photographs ...
Until recently, access to this important collection of photographs was limited to researchers who could spend days of weeks literally browsing through file cabinets full of pasted-up photoboards in the Peabody Museum archives.
The Peabody Museum recently completed a four-year cataloging and digitization project sponsored by the Harvard University Library Digital Initiative. During the initial phase of this project, collections staff created 50,000 catalog records in the museum's database, using the old paper catalog cards. Staff subsequently digitized and processed over 40,000 photographs, added enhanced descriptive data, and linked all the information to the database records ... Since copy-positive film does not exist for all 50,000 photographs, museum staff are currently using digital cameras to photograph some 15,000 remaining prints ...
The processed images are now available on-line at both the Peabody Museum's Collections Online website and the Harvard University Library Visual Information Access Database.
Pictured above: Sacred Cenote; Peabody Number 58-34-20/29798. Photograph. Central America; Mexico; Yucatan; Chichen Itza [source]