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Workshop in Pre-Columbian Studies

Ancient Central American and Colombian Art at Dumbarton Oaks
Workshop in Pre-Columbian Studies

Dr. Silvia Salgado, director of the School of Anthropology at the University of Costa Rica, examines a jadeite pendant from the Caribbean Watershed of Costa Rica. Pre-Columbian Collection, PC.B.250, Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection.

From January 12 to 19, 2014, Pre-Columbian Studies held an objects-based workshop to initiate the production of the catalogue of Ancient Central American and Colombian Art at Dumbarton Oaks. Roundtable discussions, presentations, group object viewings, and individual analyses shaped the descriptions of the collection and the thematic direction of the projected publication. Authors completed first drafts of the catalogue entries that placed the Dumbarton Oaks objects in the context of other museum collections and archaeologically recovered materials.

Invited participants included: Richard Cooke of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, Francisco Corrales Ulloa of the National Museum of Costa Rica, John Hoopes of the University of Kansas, Julia Mayo of the Fundación El Caño in Panama, David Mora-Marín of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Karen O’Day of the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire, Silvia Salgado of the University of Costa Rica, and Maria Alicia Uribe Villegas, director of the Gold Museum of Bogotá. Colleagues from the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian and Museum Conservation Institute, as well as from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, joined Dumbarton Oaks staff and fellows in a lively and productive discussion.

The workshop set the stage for further synthetic essays in the catalogue, as well as future avenues for technical analysis of both stone and metal objects. One of the main objectives identified by participants was the need for an iconographic concordance based on photographs and drawings, as well as a visual, biological, and technological glossary to guide future research on the art and archaeology of the area.

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