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Art, Architecture, and Archaeology at Temple 16, Copán, Honduras

Ricardo Agurcia, Asociación Copán, Fellow 2012–2013, Spring

My work on the archaeology and iconography of the Early Classic Oropéndola Temple at Copán, Honduras, saw significant advances. The library allowed me to pursue comparative analysis of the art and architecture of this unique building. I was also able to further clarify the stratigraphic placement of the building within the sequence of the Copan Acropolis. This has allowed me to prepare an advanced draft of a substantial article on these subjects.

Inspired by the museum resources at Dumbarton Oaks, as well as the other fellows in Pre-Columbian Studies, and a very recent publication from here, I started, and was also able to make significant progress on, another publication dealing with the eccentric flints from a unique cache I found inside the Rosalila Temple, which is contiguous to Oropéndola.

Although I am very pleased with these advances in my studies, my wonderful experience has gone well beyond the campus, leading to very fruitful exchanges with colleagues at the Smithsonian Institution, George Washington University, Montgomery College, Interamerican Development Bank and National Geographic Magazine.

Being at Dumbarton Oaks is a privilege not just because the library resources, staff and facilities are outstanding but also due to the very special intellectual ambiance of this center. At a time when the humanities are on the “endangered species list,” it is godsend to find such a unique haven and to be able to take full advantage of its generous capacity for scholarly exchange and advancement.

I am indebted to the staff in the library, museum, gardens and administration for their abundant kindness.