Fragile Memories

Boys With Altar U
Altar U, located on the village square with two young boys, 1893. Photo by Edmund Lincoln. PM 2004.24.249.

Images of Archaeology & Community
at Copan, 1891–1900

Through April 6, 2009

Now online!

In the late nineteenth century, Peabody Museum expedition teams set out to remote areas of Mexico and Central America, often with little inkling of what they might experience and barely prepared to navigate the cultural encounters essential to their missions. The Peabody Museum holds the written and visual records of these early expeditions and recently completed a two-year project to digitize more than 10,000 nineteenth-century glass-plate negatives.

The earliest images in this amazing and unique collection were photographed at Copan in Honduras, during the Museum's pioneering archaeological expeditions to the site. These images act as visual time machines, offering a wealth of archaeological information for current research, along with a visual narrative of the budding town and the archaeologists ' interactions with the local community.

As the excavations unfold before our eyes, scenes of the Copan community also emerge. But, who are the people in these images, and what effect did the excavations have on their community?

Curated by Barbara Fash.

See the Fragile Memories brochure