Inside the Peabody Museum: July 2012

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Google the Peabody Collection, and More

new peabody museum search tools


Looking for feathered headdresses from Hawaii? Or maybe you want photographs of Maya archaeological sites in Honduras? Now it's all easier to find in the Peabody Museum's collections using the new Collections Online search tool.

Using simple keywords, you can explore the Museum's collections, narrowing the results by date, artist, location, culture (Wampanoag, Maya, !Kung, etc.), materials (wood, metal, ceramics, etc.), and more.

Create your own collection of favorites and share them with friends, students, or whoever.

The easiest way to search is to enter keywords into the Quick Search box. More elaborate searches are possible with the Search tool, which allows searchers to add multiple parameters and keywords. Additional information may be requested using the Research Request Form.

Peruvian Mummy Scanning Project

Cranium by Ann Sutter

Cranium positioned for X-ray. Photo by Ann Sutter. PM 80-61-30/23997.0

Did a person who lived 2000 years ago in Peru--and later mummified--have metastatic cancer?

Peabody Museum staff recently assisted researchers with CT scans and X-ray analysis of an individual excavated from the Paracas Necropolis by Julio Tello in 1927. Associate curator Michèle Morgan and senior curatorial technician Olivia Herschensohn ensured the fragile limbs were wrapped and cushioned with materials to minimize stress during transport and the scanning process. Herschensohn designed special holders for the ribs using materials that would not interfere with imaging analysis.

The scanning, which took place at nearby Mt. Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, was part of a National Science Foundation-funded research project titled "Practices in Life, Presence after Death: Style and Substance at the Paracas Necrópolis" spearheaded by Ann Peters of The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. Peters, along with Richard Sutter of University of Indiana Ft. Wayne, one of the biological anthropologists associated with the project, accompanied the Peabody staff members to the hospital. Peters and Sutter hope the scans will confirm the presence of metastatic cancer and provide additional details about the health of this individual. The Peabody Museum will receive copies of all of the scans and X-rays. -- Adapted from a report by Olivia Herschensohn.

Meet Jeffrey Quilter, New Peabody Museum Director

Prof. Jeffrey Quilter will be the next William and Muriel Seabury Howells Director of the Peabody Museum as of July 1, 2012. The Howells Director is appointed by the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences from among Harvard's faculty.

“I’m extremely honored and pleased,” said Quilter. “This is a wonderful opportunity to lead a remarkable museum with committed staff in fulfilling its mission to serve Harvard University in its educational and research roles.”

Quilter is best known for his team’s discovery of a lost language (see Inside the Peabody Museum September 2010); a Spaniard had written a trace of on a small piece of paper 400 years ago and it was later excavated at the Magdalena Cao Viejo site. The discovery made international news.

Quilter has been the Peabody Museum’s deputy director for curatorial affairs, curator for intermediate area archaeology, and a senior lecturer in the Department of Anthropology, Harvard, since 2005. Prior to his arrival at the Peabody, he spent ten years as director of pre-Columbian studies and curator of the pre-Columbian collection at Dumbarton Oaks, in Washington, D.C. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 1981. He has taught at the University of Maryland, George Washington University, Yale University, and Ripon College, Wisconsin, where he served on the faculty for 15 years.

Quilter has conducted archaeological field investigations in several U.S. states, but his special interest has focused on on Peru and the Intermediate Area (the region between Mesoamerica and South America), specifically Costa Rica. In Costa Rica he excavated the Rivas Site while in Peru, he has worked at the El Brujo archaeological complex, Peru, and currently the associated colonial-period site of Magdalena Cao Viejo since 2002. His work has been supported by the National Geographic Society, the National Science Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Quilter is the author of four books and over 40 articles. He has served as editor of four scholarly compilations, is Series Editor for Case Studies in Archaeology (Wadsworth), and has published numerous major articles in peer-reviewed journals.



Did you miss any lectures? You can listen to them here or download them to your mobile device through iTunes U. Look for Harvard's Peabody Museum lectures.

July 21

Noon-4 pm

Drop-in Family Event

Maya Murals, Music, and Math Discovery Room