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Scholarly Activities in Pre-Columbian Studies

Symposia, colloquia, public lectures, and workshops

Upcoming Events Past Events

Symposia and Colloquia Proposals

Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection invites proposals for scholarly conferences in the three programs of study that we support: Byzantine Studies, Pre-Columbian Studies, and Garden and Landscape Studies. Our traditional formats for conferences are symposia (two days) and colloquia (one day). Dumbarton Oaks will cover travel, accommodations, and specified meeting expenses for participants in symposia and colloquia. We are looking for proposals that focus on innovative topics, make a clear contribution to scholarship, and have the potential to bring to Dumbarton Oaks both established and earlier-career scholars of distinction. Find out more.


Awards for Students

Advanced undergraduate and graduate students may apply for Bliss Symposium Awards to support attendance at the annual Pre-Columbian Studies symposium.


Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events in Pre-Columbian Studies


1967–1970 | 1970–1980 | 1980–1990 | 1990–2000 | 2000–2010 | 2010–2020 | 2020–present



Rulers from the West: Teotihuacan in Maya History and Politics

December 1, 2022 | Pre-Columbian Studies Public Lecture, David Stuart

Beyond Representation: Ancient Indigenous Visual Culture

October 7–8, 2022 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Tamara L. Bray and Carolyn Dean, Symposiarchs


Tenochtitlan: Imperial Ideologies on Display

April 8–9, 2022 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Leonardo López Luján, Barbara E. Mundy, and Elizabeth H. Boone, Symposiarchs

Heads, Skulls, and Sacred Racks

April 21, 2022 | Pre-Columbian Studies Public Lecture, Vera Tiesler

Water, Copper, Wak’as, and Empire: Late Prehispanic Political Ecology in the High-Altitude Atacama Desert

November 4, 2021 | Pre-Columbian Studies Public Lecture, Frances Hayashida

Hidden Landscapes of the Past: Uncovering the Ancient World through LiDAR

June 16–July 28, 2021 | Interdisciplinary Summer Lecture Series



The Empire of the Ancestors: The Wari of the Middle Horizon

May 7–8, 2021 | Pre-Columbian Studies Colloquium, Mary Glowacki and Anita Cook, Organizers

Faces of Rulership in the Maya Region

March 26–27, 2021 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium

Celebrating the Life of Colin McEwan

March 28, 2021

Heritage and Its Missions

December 11, 2020 | Pre-Columbian Studies Colloquium, Cristóbal Gnecco and Adriana Dias, Organizers

When Cortés Met Malinche, and Montezuma Met Cortés: Alternative Facts and Disturbing Truths

November 4, 2020 | Pre-Columbian Studies Public Lecture, Matthew Restall



Waves of Influence: Revisiting Coastal Connections between Pre-Columbian Northwest South America and Mesoamerica

October 11–12, 2019 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Christopher S. Beekman and Colin McEwan, Symposiarchs



Reconsidering the Chavín Phenomenon in the 21st Century

October 5–6, 2018 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Richard L. Burger and Jason Nesbitt, Symposiarchs

Mesoamerican Codices: New Discoveries and New Directions

March 12–13, 2019 | Pre-Columbian Studies Colloquium, Diana Magaloni Kerpel and Barbara E. Mundy, Organizers

Keys to the Empire: Wari Religion and Politics in City and Country

April 25, 2019 | Pre-Columbian Studies Public Lecture, Anita G. Cook



Looking Ahead to the Past: An Ethnographer’s Perspective on Archaeology in the Andes

April 12, 2018 | Pre-Columbian Studies Public Lecture, Catherine Allen, George Washington University

Imaginary Aztec: Three Views of Mesoamerica’s Central Places

December 1, 2017 | Pre-Columbian Studies Public Lecture, Davíd Carrasco, Harvard University

Teotihuacan: The World beyond the City

October 6–7, 2017 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Barbara Arroyo, Kenneth Hirth, and David Carballo, Symposiarchs



Everything That Shines Is Gold . . . but Does It Matter? The Conceptual Relevance of Amazonian Archaeology

March 16, 2017 | Pre-Columbian Studies Public Lecture, Eduardo Neves, University of São Paulo

Mirrored Reflections: Spanish Iconoclasm in the New World and Its Reverberations in the Old

February 16, 2017 | Director’s Office Public Lecture, Thomas B. F. Cummins, Harvard University

Interpreting Pre-Hispanic Peru through Its Textiles

December 1, 2016 | Pre-Columbian Studies Public Lecture, Ann Pollard Rowe, The Textile Museum

Sacred Matter: Animism and Authority in Pre-Columbian America

October 7–8, 2016 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Steven Kosiba, John Janusek, and Thomas Cummins, Symposiarchs



A Crack in the Mirror: Desires for Pre-Columbian and American-Made Colonial Art, Then and Now

December 4, 2015 | Pre-Columbian Studies Public Lecture, Thomas B. F. Cummins, Harvard University

Smoke, Flames, and the Human Body in Mesoamerican Ritual Practice

October 9–10, 2015 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Vera Tiesler and Andrew Scherer, Symposiarchs



Processions in the Ancient Americas: Approaches and Perspectives

October 10–11, 2014 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Susan Toby Evans and Stella Nair, Symposiarchs



Making Value, Making Meaning: Techné in the Pre-Columbian World

October 11–12, 2013 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Cathy L. Costin, Symposiarch



The Measure and Meaning of Time in the Americas

October 5–6, 2012 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Anthony Aveni, Symposiarch



Conflict, Conquest, and the Performance of War in Pre-Columbian America

October 14–15, 2011 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Andrew Scherer and John Verano, Symposiarchs



Merchants, Trade, and Exchange in the Pre-Columbian World

October 8–9, 2010 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Kenneth G. Hirth, Symposiarch



Past Presented: A Symposium on the History of Archaeological Illustration

October 9–10, 2009 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Joanne Pillsbury, Symposiarch



Scripts, Signs, and Notational Systems in Pre-Columbian America

October 11–12, 2008 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Elizabeth Boone and Gary Urton, Symposiarchs



The Place of Sculpture in Mesoamerica’s Preclassic Transition: Context, Use, and Meaning

October 5–7, 2007 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, John Clark, Julia Guernsey, and Barbara Arroyo, Symposiarchs



Astronomers, Scribes, and Priests: Intellectual Interchange between the Northern Maya Lowlands and Highland Mexico in the Late Postclassic Period

October 6–7, 2006 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Gabrielle Vail and Christine Hernández, Symposiarchs



The Art of Urbanism: How Mesoamerican Cities Represented Themselves in Architecture and Imagery

October 7–8, 2005 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, William L. Fash and Leonardo López Luján, Symposiarchs



New Perspectives on Moche Political Organization

August 6–8, 2004 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Jeffrey Quilter, Luis Jaime Castillo Butters, and Andrés Alvarez Calderón Larco, Symposiarchs



Classic Veracruz: Cultural Currents in the Ancient Gulf Lowlands

October 11–12, 2003 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Philip Arnold Ⅲ, Christopher Pool, and Richard Diehl, Symposiarchs



En Niño, Catastrophism, and Culture Change in Ancient America

October 12–13, 2002 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Daniel H. Sandweiss and Jeffrey Quilter, Symposiarchs



A Pre-Columbian World: Searching for a Unitary Vision of Ancient America

October 6–7, 2001 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Mary Ellen Miller and Jeffrey Quilter, Symposiarchs



Pilgrimage and Ritual Landscape in America

October 7–8, 2000 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, John B. Carlson, Symposiarch



Gold and Power in Ancient Costa Rica, Panama, and Colombia

October 9–10, 1999 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Jeffrey Quilter and John Hoopes, Symposiarchs



Ancient Palaces of the New World: Form, Function, and Meaning

October 10–11, 1998 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Susan T. Evans and Joanne Pillsbury, Symposiarchs



Variations in the Expression of Inka Power

October 18–19, 1997 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Ramiro Matos, Craig Morris, and Richard Burger, Symposiarchs



Recovering Gender in Pre-Hispanic America

October 12–13, 1996 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Cecilia Klein, Symposiarch



Archaeology of Formative Ecuador

October 7–8, 1995 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Richard Burger and J. Scott Raymond, Symposiarchs



Function and Meaning in Classic Maya Architecture

October 8–9, 1994 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Stephen Houston, Symposiarch



Social Identity, Ceremony, and Cosmology in Pre-Classic Mesoamerica

October 9–10, 1993 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, David Grove and Rosemary Joyce, Symposiarchs



Native Traditions in the Post-Conquest World

October 2–3, 1992 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Elizabeth Boone and Tom Cummins, Symposiarchs



Tombs for the Living: Andean Mortuary Practices

October 12–13, 1991 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Tom Dillehay, Symposiarch



Collecting the Pre-Columbian Past

October 6–7, 1990 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Elizabeth Boone, Symposiarch



On the Eve of the Collapse: Ancient Maya Societies in the Eighth Century, A.D.

October 7–8, 1989 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Jeremy Sabloff and John Henderson, Symposiarchs



Art, Polity, and the City of Teotihuacan

October 8–9, 1988 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Janet Berlo, Symposiarch



Wealth and Hierarchy in the Intermediate Area

October 10–11, 1987 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Frederick Lange, Symposiarch



Latin American Horizons

October 11–12, 1986 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Don Rice, Symposiarch



The Northern Dynasties: Kingship and Statecraft in Chimor

October 12–13, 1985 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Maria Rostworoski and Michael Moseley, Symposiarchs



The Southeastern Classic Maya Zone

October 6–7, 1984 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Gordon Willey, Symposiarch



The Aztec Templo Mayor

October 8–9, 1983 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, George Kubler and Eduardo Matos Moctezuma, Symposiarchs



Early Ceremonial Architecture in the Andes

October 8–9, 1982 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Christopher Donnan, Symposiarch



Painted Architecture and Polychrome Monumental Sculpture in Mesoamerica

October 10–11, 1981 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Donald Robertson and Elizabeth Boone, Symposiarchs



Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Study of Mesoamerican Highland-Lowland Interaction

October 18–19, 1980 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Arthur Miller, Symposiarch



Ritual Sacrifice in Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica

October 13–14, 1979 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Elizabeth P. Benson, Organizer



Falsifications and Misreconstructions of Pre-Columbian Art

October 14–15, 1978 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Elizabeth P. Benson, Director of Pre-Columbian Studies, Organizer



Art and Iconography of Late Post-Classic Central Mexico

October 22–23, 1977 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Elizabeth P. Benson, Director of Pre-Columbian Studies, Organizer, in collaboration with Elizabeth H. Boone



Mesoamerican Sites and World Views

October 16–17, 1976 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Elizabeth P. Benson, Director of Pre-Columbian Studies, Organizer



Pre-Columbian Metallurgy of South America

October 18–19, 1975 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Elizabeth P. Benson, Director of Pre-Columbian Studies, Organizer



The Sea in the Pre-Columbian World

October 26–27, 1974 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Elizabeth P. Benson, Director of Pre-Columbian Studies, Organizer



Death and the Afterlife in Pre-Columbian America

October 27–28, 1973 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Elizabeth P. Benson, Director of Pre-Columbian Studies, Organizer



The Junius B. Bird Conference on Pre-Columbian Textiles

May 19–20, 1973 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, given jointly with the Textile Museum, Elizabeth P. Benson, Director of Pre-Columbian Studies, Organizer, in collaboration with Ann Pollard Rowe and Anne-Louise Schaffer



Mesoamerican Writing Systems

October 30–31, 1971 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Elizabeth P. Benson, Director of Pre-Columbian Studies, Organizer



The Cult of the Feline: A Conference in Pre-Columbian Iconography

October 31–November 1, 1970 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Elizabeth P. Benson, Director of Pre-Columbian Studies, Organizer



Conference on Chavín

October 26–27, 1968 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Elizabeth P. Benson, Director of Pre-Columbian Studies, Organizer



Conference on the Olmec

October 28–29, 1967 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Elizabeth P. Benson, Director of Pre-Columbian Studies, Organizer