Archaeological Collections

Mimbres Pottery

Mimbres pottery, New Mexico, circa A.D. 800–1150. PM 24-15-10/94584, 25-11-10/94789.


Archaeological holdings make up the bulk of the Museum’s collections, with items numbering in the millions. The greatest strengths of the archaeological collections are the Americas and Asia.

North America »

Archaeological collections include artifacts from Paleoindian through historical periods of eastern, southeastern, and southwestern regions. Highlights from these collections include  

  • Hopewell and later mound sites: Madisonville, Turner, and Turpin.
  • Harvard Yard excavations,  Massachusetts.
  • Watertown Arsenal, Massachusetts.
  • Hemenway Southwest archaeological expedition, including paintings by Julian Scott and the Keam collection of pottery, baskets, and katsina dolls, Arizona, New Mexico.
  • Mimbres collection from Swarts Ruin, New Mexico.

Central America »

Archaeological materials feature collections from over thirty Maya- and Aztec-period sites. Highlights include

  • Aztec figurines, Mexico.
  • Maya sites of Copan, Honduras; Piedras Negras and Uaxactun, Guatemala.

South America »

Collections include artifacts from many regions and periods and include the Moche, Nazca, Huari, and Chimu cultures. Highlights include  

  • Archaeological textiles from all periods, especially Paracas.
  • Inca and Chimu metalwork.
  • Quipus from Peru.

Europe »

Materials from Neolithic through Iron Age are well represented in Peabody holdings. They include

  • Duchess of Mecklenburg Collection of Iron Age artifacts and osteological material from Slovenia.
  • Paleolithic collections from France (especially Abri Pataud), Germany, and Ireland.

Asia »

Asian archaeological materials derive from Paleolithic, Mesolithic, and Neolithic sites in the Middle East and Southern and Central Asia. They include

  • Excavation artifacts from Tepe Yahya, Iran; Turkey, Hetty Goldman; Vietnam, Janse; Chanho-dato; and other Indian sites.
  • Survey collections from Walter Fairservis and Aurel Stein.

Other collection highlights include lithic material from Tasmania and Australia in Oceania and Egyptian and Nubian collections excavated by George Reisner in Africa

Other Links of Interest