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Past Presented: A Symposium on the History of Archaeological Illustration

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

Past Presented Speakers
Speakers of the 2009 Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium.
The goal of this symposium is the study and discussion of the visual presentation of archaeological data from the beginnings of the field to the present day. Often considered neutral representations, this gathering seeks to analyze and contextualize the visual culture of archaeological illustration. What is the intellectual history of the field? How did early archaeological illustrations cleave or depart from scientific illustration in other fields? What was the relationship between the archaeological artists and prevailing currents in the fine arts? How have representations—such as aerial photography—shaped the direction of archaeological field research (and vice-versa)? How did certain graphic conventions begin, and why have some remained so central to the field?

Many scholars speak of the “accuracy” of drawings, maps and models, implying a greater faithfulness to “truth,” yet how and in what ways are these images culturally informed by the interests and trends of their own times? How do these presentations of data and reconstructions shape our perceptions? Finally, the symposium will also look at contemporary 3D models and the future of archaeological illustration. What is the heuristic value of contemporary presentations (i.e., “beyond illustration”)? This symposium will bring together scholars working on specific critical histories of representations as well as broader approaches to the understanding of visual conceptualizations.

The symposium speakers include:

  • Barbara Fash (Peabody Museum, Harvard University),
  • Peter Galison (Harvard University),
  • Byron Hamann (University of Chicago),
  • Stephen Houston (Brown University),
  • Scott R. Hutson (University of Kentucky),
  • Bryan R. Just (Princeton University Art Museum),
  • Leonardo López Luján (Museo Templo Mayor, INAH),
  • John Rick (Stanford University),
  • Daniel Schavelzon (Universidad de Buenos Aires),
  • Alain Schnapp (Université de Paris I),
  • Adam T. Sellen (Centro Peninsular en Humanidades y Ciencias Sociales, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México),
  • Lisa Trever (Harvard University),
  • Luis Felipe Villacorta (Museo Raimondi),
  • Khristaan D. Villela (University of New Mexico),
  • and Jason Weems (University of California, Riverside).



Archaeological Illustration in the Americas