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The Archaeology of Highland Chiriqui, Panama -- Documents, Images, and Datasets

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Summary

Archaeology is defined by its grounding in material objects; without contextual elements of space and place, however, material culture is devoid of much of its meaning and archaeological information. This article focuses upon pre-Columbian objects – including gold, ceramics, and stone artefacts - from a small, localized area of the Chiriquí region of western Panamá in the context of the volcanic landscape. The discussion is intended as a provocative introduction to the archaeology of highland Chiriquí rather than an exhaustive exploration and seeks to convey the contemporary context of an understudied archaeological region. Chiriquí, like the isthmus of Panamá overall, inhabits a nebulous place in archaeological conception due to its positioning below Mesoamerica and above the Andean world. This academic displacement is further complicated – or potentially prompted - by the de-contextualization of vast quantities of pre-Columbian artifacts in the late nineteenth century after large cemeteries were discovered in 1859 and then subjected to several decades of intensive excavation by individuals seeking monetary gain, adventure, or both from the experience. Antiquities removed from Chiriquí at this time were transported to museum collections throughout the western world. While the removed artifacts attest to the richness of pre-Columbian material culture, the sites from which they came were effectively erased from the landscape and archaeological conception. I draw from diverse, ephemeral and cartographically imprecise sources of information provided by accounts from looters and adventurers, antiquarian reports, museum accession files, and rumor to extrapolate possible locations for looted sites that provided the materials held in the major museum collections. I place these ‘un-firm’ locations in a GIS in conjunction with precisely located sites from systematic survey to show how they relate to one another. A concomitant role of this article is to make data from fieldwork I conducted between 2000 and 2005 in highland Chiriquí accessible to other researchers. In this article, I tease out one particular grave and the materials used to construct it from these data as synecdoche for myriad thousands of looted Chiriquí graves as well as the archaeological need to seek new forms of data.

Preparation of this electronic publication and associated archive was assisted by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.


Cite this Record

The Archaeology of Highland Chiriqui, Panama -- Documents, Images, and Datasets. ( tDAR id: 4243) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8VX0HXQ


Keywords


Temporal Coverage

Calendar Date: -4600 to 1500

Radiocarbon Date: 680 to 600


Spatial Coverage

min long: -82.62; min lat: 8.124 ; max long: -81.867; max lat: 8.654 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contributor(s): Karen Holmberg

Collaborator(s): Internet Archaeology

Sponsor(s): Andrew W. Mellon Foundation ; Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)

Repository(s): Museo Antropológico Reina Torres de Araúz ; Boston Museum of Fine Arts ; The British Museum ; Musee de l'Homme ; Museum of World Culture ; Museum fur Volkerkunde ; National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution ; National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution ; Peabody Museum, Harvard University ; Peabody Museum, Yale University ; Walters Art Museum

Prepared By(s): Brown University


Documents

  1. An Account of a Visit to the Huacas, or Ancient Grave Yards of Chiriqui (1860)
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  2. Archaeological fieldwork in Chiriquí (1936)
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  3. The archaeological problem of Chiriqui (1935)
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  4. The Archaeology of Highland Chiriqui, Panama SINGLE PDF of Figures
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  5. The Archaeology of Highland Chiriquí Panama: Holmberg FIG 34 - 1936 Linne Drawing of Boquete area grave (1936)
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  6. The Archaeology of Highland Chiriquí Panama: Holmberg FIG 35 -1949 Wassen Drawing Boquete area grave construction (1949)
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  7. The Archaeology of Highland Chiriquí Panama: Holmberg FIG 36 - 1949 Boquete area grave construction x (1949)
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  8. The Archaeology of Highland Chiriquí Panama: Holmberg FIG 40 - Schematic drawings of the KOT-J grave construction (Figures 40-43) (2005)
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  9. The Archaeology of Highland Chiriquí Panama: Holmberg FIG 41 - Schematic drawings of the KOT-J grave construction (Figures 40-43) (2005)
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  10. The Archaeology of Highland Chiriquí Panama: Holmberg FIG 42 - Schematic drawings of the KOT-J grave construction (Figures 40-43) (2005)
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  11. The Archaeology of Highland Chiriquí Panama: Holmberg FIG 43 - Schematic drawings of the KOT-J grave construction (Figures 40-43) (2005)
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  12. Arrival of the North Star: Interesting From New Granda: Revolution in Carthagena: The Chiriqui Gold Discoveries: Later from California and Oregon (1859)
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  13. Arrival of the Star of the West: News from California and Central America: $1,863,601 in Treasure (1859)
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  14. Boquete Area Ceramics Classification (2010)
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  15. Central American and West Indian Archaeology: Being an Inroduction to the Archaeology of the States of Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama and the West Indies (1916)
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  16. The discovery of gold in the graves of Chiriqui, Panama (1919)
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  17. General Discussion: Use of gold and copper: Human Figures (1887)
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  18. The Gentleman's Magazine (1860)
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  19. Gold Rush Found in the Graves at Chiriqui, Now in the Possesion of Tiffany & Co, and From Sketches Taken by Mr. W.G. Overen, U.S.M. (1859)
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  20. Gold-Hunters in Chiriqui (1859)
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  21. Golden relics from Chiriqui. A paper read before the Numismatic and Antiquarian Society of Philadelphia on Thursday October 5 (1867)
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  22. Grave goods from the intact grave at BE-16-KH site (KOT-F unit) (2010)
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  23. Highland Chiriqui Project: Excavated test unites at BE-16-KH (2010)
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  24. The Nautilus Exploring Party (1859)
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  25. The new gold discoveries on the Isthmus of Panama (1859)
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  26. New route through Chiriqui (1861)
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  27. New-Granada: The Chiriqui Diggings Completed (1859)
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  28. Note on Stone Celts, From Chiriqui. (1863)
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  29. Note on the Aboriginal Races of the North-Western Provinces of South America (1884)
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  30. Note on the Archaeology of Chiriqui (1913)
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  31. Note sur les sepultares indiennes du department de Chiriquí, Panamá (1866)
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  32. On the ancient Indian tombs of Chiriqui in Veragua (southwest of Panama), on the Isthmus of Darien (1863)
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  33. The Pacific Coast: Arrival of the Northern Light: Four Days from the Isthmus of Panama: The Chiriqui Gold Fever: Rush of the Population for the Indian Burial-Places: Two Weeks Later From South America (1859)
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  34. Report on the Huacals or Ancient Graveyards of Chiriqui (1860)
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  35. Schooner Nautilus at Chiriqui (1859)
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  36. Some archaeological observations from Boquete, Chiriqui, Panama (1949)
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  37. A Study of Chiriquian Antiquities. Vol. 3 (1911)
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  38. Whole Dacite Slabs recieved from the BE-16-KH (KOT) Graves (2010)
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  39. Yale's Valuable Find: Collection of Chiriqui Antiques Stored Away for Years (1905)
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Images

  1. The Archaeology of Highland Chiriqui, Panama Figures (2010)
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  2. The Archaeology of Highland Chiriqui, Panama Figures WITH CITATION (2010)
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  3. The Archaeology of Highland Chiriquí Panama: Holmberg FIG 10 - 1910 -1912 Letters Tiffany & Co. Dated to Walters Museum MD (2 of 4) (1911)
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  4. The Archaeology of Highland Chiriquí Panama: Holmberg FIG 11 - 1910 -1912 Letters Tiffany & Co. Dated to Walters Museum MD (3 of 4) (1911)
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  5. The Archaeology of Highland Chiriquí Panama: Holmberg FIG 12 - 1910 -1912 Letters Tiffany & Co. Dated to Walters Museum MD (4 of 4) (1911)
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  6. The Archaeology of Highland Chiriquí Panama: Holmberg FIG 13 - Chiriquí ceramic artifact (ANT. 000177) Peabody Museum (2010)
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  7. The Archaeology of Highland Chiriquí Panama: Holmberg FIG 14 - Chiriquí ceramic artifact (ANT. 000287) Peabody Museum, (2010)
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  8. The Archaeology of Highland Chiriquí Panama: Holmberg FIG 15 - Chiriquí ceramic artifact (ANT. 000450) Peabody Museum, (2010)
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  9. The Archaeology of Highland Chiriquí Panama: Holmberg FIG 16 - Chiriquí ceramic artifact (ANT. 000570) Peabody Museum (2010)
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  10. The Archaeology of Highland Chiriquí Panama: Holmberg FIG 17 - Chiriquí ceramic artifact (ANT. 01239) Peabody Museum (2010)
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  11. The Archaeology of Highland Chiriquí Panama: Holmberg FIG 18 - University Chiriquí stone artifact (ANT.000032) Peabody Museum (2010)
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  12. The Archaeology of Highland Chiriquí Panama: Holmberg FIG 19 - Chiriquí stone artifact (ANT.000051) Peabody Museum (2010)
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  13. The Archaeology of Highland Chiriquí Panama: Holmberg FIG 2 - 1685 Chiriquí Maritime Map (1685)
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  14. The Archaeology of Highland Chiriquí Panama: Holmberg FIG 20 - Chiriquí stone artifact (ANT.000062) Peabody Museum (2010)
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  15. The Archaeology of Highland Chiriquí Panama: Holmberg FIG 21 - Chiriquí stone artifact (ANT.012480) Peabody Museum (2010)
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  16. The Archaeology of Highland Chiriquí Panama: Holmberg FIG 22 - Chiriquí stone artifact (ANT.012576) Peabody Museum (2010)
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  17. The Archaeology of Highland Chiriquí Panama: Holmberg FIG 23 - Benigno T. Argote school Artifact Collection (1 of 8) (2010)
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  18. The Archaeology of Highland Chiriquí Panama: Holmberg FIG 24 - Benigno T. Argote school Artifact Collection (2 of 8) (2010)
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  19. The Archaeology of Highland Chiriquí Panama: Holmberg FIG 25 - Benigno T. Argote school Artifact Collection (3 of 8) (2010)
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  20. The Archaeology of Highland Chiriquí Panama: Holmberg FIG 26 - Benigno T. Argote school Artifact Collection (4 of 8) (2010)
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  21. The Archaeology of Highland Chiriquí Panama: Holmberg FIG 27 - Benigno T. Argote school Artifact Collection (5 of 8) (2010)
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  22. The Archaeology of Highland Chiriquí Panama: Holmberg FIG 28 - Benigno T. Argote school Artifact Collection (6 of 8) (2010)
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  23. The Archaeology of Highland Chiriquí Panama: Holmberg FIG 29 - Benigno T. Argote school Artifact Collection (7 of 8) (2010)
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  24. The Archaeology of Highland Chiriquí Panama: Holmberg FIG 3 - National Museum of the American Indian - Chiriquí Gold Artifact (Catalog Number: 008267.000) (2010)
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  25. The Archaeology of Highland Chiriquí Panama: Holmberg FIG 30 - Benigno T. Argote school Artifact Collection (8 of 8) (2005)
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  26. The Archaeology of Highland Chiriquí Panama: Holmberg FIG 31 - Map Chiriquí culture area and nearby culture areas (2005)
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  27. The Archaeology of Highland Chiriquí Panama: Holmberg FIG 32- Map Proposed looted site locations extrapolated (2005)
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  28. The Archaeology of Highland Chiriquí Panama: Holmberg FIG 33 - Map of 2000-2005 Study Area (2005)
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  29. The Archaeology of Highland Chiriquí Panama: Holmberg FIG 37 - 2005 Holmberg Photo construction and grave site (2005)
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  30. The Archaeology of Highland Chiriquí Panama: Holmberg FIG 38 - 2005 Photo grave construction materials (1 of 2) (2005)
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  31. The Archaeology of Highland Chiriquí Panama: Holmberg FIG 39 - 2005 Photo grave construction materials (2 of 2) (2005)
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  32. The Archaeology of Highland Chiriquí Panama: Holmberg FIG 4 - National Museum of the American Indian - Chiriquí Gold Artifact (Catalog Number: 008277.00) (2010)
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  33. The Archaeology of Highland Chiriquí Panama: Holmberg FIG 44 - 2000-2005 excavation photo/Cache of KOT-F grave goods (2005)
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  34. The Archaeology of Highland Chiriquí Panama: Holmberg FIG 45 - 2000-2005 excavation photo/Ceramic sherd (2005)
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  35. The Archaeology of Highland Chiriquí Panama: Holmberg FIG 46 - 2000-2005 excavation photo/Ceramic whistle found (2005)
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  36. The Archaeology of Highland Chiriquí Panama: Holmberg FIG 47 - 2000-2005 excavation photo/Zoomorphic ceramic vessel (2005)
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  37. The Archaeology of Highland Chiriquí Panama: Holmberg FIG 48 - Map of the quarry locations quarry site 1 (2005)
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  38. The Archaeology of Highland Chiriquí Panama: Holmberg FIG 49 - Photo The basalt column quarry site 2 (2005)
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  39. The Archaeology of Highland Chiriquí Panama: Holmberg FIG 5 - National Museum of the American Indian - Chiriquí Gold Artifact (Catalog Number: 034878.000) (2010)
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  40. The Archaeology of Highland Chiriquí Panama: Holmberg FIG 50 - Photo The basalt column quarry site 3 (2005)
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  41. The Archaeology of Highland Chiriquí Panama: Holmberg FIG 51 - Photo The basalt column quarry site 4 (2005)
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  42. The Archaeology of Highland Chiriquí Panama: Holmberg FIG 52 - The basalt column quarry site 4 (2005)
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  43. The Archaeology of Highland Chiriquí Panama: Holmberg FIG 53 - Dacite slabs from burials reuse 1 (2005)
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  44. The Archaeology of Highland Chiriquí Panama: Holmberg FIG 54 - Dacite slabs from burials reuse 2 (2005)
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  45. The Archaeology of Highland Chiriquí Panama: Holmberg FIG 54 - Dacite slabs from burials reuse 3 (2005)
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  46. The Archaeology of Highland Chiriquí Panama: Holmberg FIG 56 - Ngöbe woman with the Volcán (2010)
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  47. The Archaeology of Highland Chiriquí Panama: Holmberg FIG 57 - Municipal seal of Boquete (2005)
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  48. The Archaeology of Highland Chiriquí Panama: Holmberg FIG 58 - Cave site near the Volcan Baru (2005)
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  49. The Archaeology of Highland Chiriquí Panama: Holmberg FIG 6 - National Museum of the American Indian - Chiriquí Gold Artifact (Catalog Number: 232150.000) (2010)
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  50. The Archaeology of Highland Chiriquí Panama: Holmberg FIG 7 - 1849 handbill/Ship Passage California Gold Rush (1849)
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  51. The Archaeology of Highland Chiriquí Panama: Holmberg FIG 8 - Map of Museums with Artifact Collections (2010)
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  52. The Archaeology of Highland Chiriquí Panama: Holmberg FIG 9 - 1910 -1912 Letters Tiffany & Co. Dated to Walters Museum MD (1 of 4) (1910)
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  53. The Archaeology of Highland Chiriquí Panama: Homberg FIG 1 - 1640 Tierra Firma Map (1640)
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Datasets

  1. Copyright Permission for Resources ingested into tDAR (The Archaeology of Highland Chiriqui, Panama Project) (2010)
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  2. Holmberg Datasets for Excavation of at Chiriqui, Panama (2010)
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Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America