Start the Presses? John Alden Mason as Mesoamericanist and a Reluctant New Deal Archaeologist in the 1930s
Author(s): Bernard Means
This is an abstract from the "Sins of Our Ancestors (and of Ourselves): Confronting Archaeological Legacies" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.
What lessons does incomplete, delayed, or lack of publishing hold for archaeologists working in the field today? During the 1930s (and after), J. Alden Mason was a curator at the Penn Museum in Philadelphia, and is possibly best known for his work during that time at the site of Piedras Negras in northwestern Guatemala and his inviting of Tatiana Proskouriakoff to this site. Her work with Maya hieroglyphics from this site was integral to the recognition that Maya glyphs reflected historical events. Yet, the excavations at Piedras Negras in the 1930s were not published until 2005, preventing other scholars from building on this work. Delayed publication—one after his death—is not only Mason’s archaeological "sin." Many foundational projects are lacking field records and missing artifacts. Acknowledging this history should be part of revising archaeological knowledge and teaching the ethics of our often destructive investigations.
Cite this Record
Start the Presses? John Alden Mason as Mesoamericanist and a Reluctant New Deal Archaeologist in the 1930s. Bernard Means. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 452568)
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Abstract Id(s): 26328