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Post-Doctoral Fellow in Pre-Columbian Art/Archaeology, Dumbarton Oaks Research Library

Dumbarton Oaks is a research institute affiliated with Harvard University that supports research internationally in the field of Pre-Columbian Studies. In addition to world-renowned library and museum collections, Dumbarton Oaks’ Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives (ICFA) holds more than a million unique items in a variety of media, including extensive material relating to the language and ceramics of the ancient Maya elite. Dumbarton Oaks invites applications for a Post-Doctoral Fellow to join a team working to create comprehensive access to Justin Kerr’s systematic photographic documentation of ancient Maya painted ceramics.

The Post-Doctoral Fellow in Pre-Columbian Art/Archaeology will receive training in archival processing and digital curation and will support digitization initiatives to increase access to ICFA collections for scholars and the public. The Fellow will be fully integrated into the Library and Pre-Columbian Studies Program and will work closely with staff and Dumbarton Oaks researchers to establish intellectual control over ICFA’s multi-media holdings. The Post-Doctoral Fellow will assist the staff of the Image Collection and Fieldwork Archives (ICFA) with processing the Justin Kerr Collection, consisting of approximately 20,000 unique photographs of Meso-American objects. To date, the majority of the photographs exposed in have been migrated to Harvard’s HOLLIS Images platform and have been fully re-catalogued. The goal of the Fellowship will consist in expanding this body of material to include all of Kerr’s photographs of ancient Maya ceramics, including thorough description of the iconography and transcription of the hieroglyphic texts. The Kerr Collection complements further documentation of ancient Maya ceramics and exhaustive documentation of Moche and Nasca ceramics in other ICFA collections. Dumbarton Oaks is contributing content to open access platforms and is also exploring artificial intelligence, machine learning, and computer vision techniques to enhance access to photographic collections. Outcomes of the fellowship may include scholarly publications on ancient Maya language and art as well as contributions to digital humanities and further expansion of a gateway to Justin Kerr’s photographs of Maya ceramics to be published alongside Dumbarton Oaks’ Moche Iconography site: This fellowship offers unique opportunities to build career skills in special collections and digital technologies while benefiting from the unique resources of Dumbarton Oaks. The Fellow will participate fully in Dumbarton Oaks’ dynamic community of scholars and programming in Pre-Columbian Studies and will devote 20% of the fellowship time to personal research. 


  • PhD in Linguistics, Anthropology, Archaeology, or Art History with a specialization in the ancient Maya
  • Demonstrated experience working with Pre-Columbian ceramics through archaeological excavation, museum curation, or other demonstrable close study and engagement.
  • Excellent research skills, particularly in the use of archival and photographic collections. 


  • Experience in a research library, archive, special collection, museum, or comparable environment.
  • Strong computer skills, including experience using relational databases, collection management software, and electronic library resources.
  • Experience with digital photography or digitization of photographs, slides, negatives, and other media, including photo editing software.


This is a one-year fellowship, with the possibility of renewal for two additional years. The Post-Doctoral Fellow will have access to the outstanding resources of the institute and become part of the larger research community at Dumbarton Oaks. The Fellowship carries a stipend of $65,000 per year and the health insurance plan available to Fellows.

Applications must be submitted by March 1, 2022, to Applicants should submit a cover letter, résumé, a statement of interest describing their professional and academic experience (1000 words) and should secure two letters of recommendation, to be sent under separate cover directly by the recommender to: The Fellowship will begin on July 1, 2022. Applicants must have fulfilled all the requirements for the PhD by the time of application and must have received the PhD no later than June 30, 2022, and no earlier than July 31, 2018.

Dumbarton Oaks is an Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE).