Sitio Conte in Real Time: January 8, 1940

January 8, 2015

Everything is unsettled and hectic. The expedition has been arranged so suddenly. 

– Mason to Merrill, January 8, 1940

The chaotic nature of planning a last minute archaeological expedition was dragging upon Mason, as his letter of the 8th of January to Bob Merrill indicates. In it, he officially hires Merrill as draftsman for the expedition, saying:

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Mason also relayed to Merrill that the Panamanian government had not yet given their consent for the expedition. It did seem likely, though, according to Schaeffer, his government contact in Panama. This news he was expecting any day now.


Optimistic, Mason continued to press forward with hiring staff and making arrangements, relaying to Merrill information about the travel options for the expedition members to reach Panama. He had contacted three shipping lines, Grace LineUnited Fruit, and Standard Fruit, and the three had offered discounted fares for the expedition to travel on one of their freight shipping boats. Glamorous cruise lines, these options were not.

At the close of the letter, Mason implores Merrill to respond quickly as


Letter from Mason to Merrill, dated January 8, 1940. See the full letter here.

Follow along from the beginning! Sitio Conte in Real Time