Guajiro Expedition 1935

By: V. P.

Originally Published in 1936

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THE Expedition to the Guajiro Peninsula which was dispatched on April 23rd under the sponsorship of the Museum and Columbia University returned during the past Autumn after three months in the field. The major objective of the Expedition was to survey the peninsula to discover what the possibilities for ethnological research and to locate likely sites for archaeological investigation.

A man drawing back a bowstring and nocked arrow
Plate VI — The Guajiro Expedition

To quote from the brief statement by Dr. Petrullo, Field Director of the Guajiro Expedition, filed upon the return of the Expedition: “The University Museum group left on April 23rd and made its way to Caracas by way of the Lesser Antilles. Anxious to examine the dry country of the State of Falcon, the Expedition went to Maracaibo by chartered autobus, passing through Barquisimeto and Sabaneto, a village near the ancient city of Coro. At Maracaibo its headquarters were established at the camp of the Venezuelan Gulf Company, to whose officials the Expedition is indebted for numerous courtesies and the use of company facilities. General Vincensio Perez Soto, the president of the State of Zulia, having received instructions from General Juan Vicente Gomez, President of Venezuela, put the machinery of the government at the disposal of the Expedition, and gave to each member special passports. Later similar passports were obtained from the Colombian authorities. The Colombian government accepted our invitation to send a student to the Expedition for training and its representative was with us for two months. The recommendation of our own State Department was of great value to the Expedition.

A man atop a horse
Plate VI — The Guajiro Expedition
Native types of the Peninsula
A man in a hat atop a horse
Plate VI — The Guajiro Expedition
Native types of the Peninsula
A woman standing in shallow water
Plate VI — The Guajiro Expedition
Native woman at water hole

“Dr. Kirchoff, representing Columbia University, arrived June 25th. We immediately made a circuit trip through Colombian territory. At the newly established town of Uribia quarters were found with army officials for Dr. Kirchoff and his wife and the camp was moved to Maicao. The scarcity of water and pasturage hindered the work of the Expedition greatly and finally forced another moving of the camp to Cuse, a point on the southeastern coast where good water was plentiful and some dry grass could be had. Thence side trips were made, and finally the Museum group went to Nazareth in the hills of Macuire. Because of natural springs this spot is the oasis of the Peninsula and members of the party had the opportunity of superficially studying Guajiro agricultural activity. Two members of the Expedition then continued along the western coast to Uribia, thereafter withdrawing from the field. The field director of the Expedition is well satisfied with the results obtained when the organization and the objectives of the Expedition are kept in mind.”

Mr. Lewis Korn, archaeologist to the Expedition, was fortunately able to locate several productive sites where preliminary excavations were conducted that led to the discovery of red painted skeletal material, painted pottery and artifacts which are, apparently, of considerable interest. It is hoped that it will be possible to publish more definitive articles on the results of the Expedition at a later date. Meanwhile the pictures on the two preceding pages will give the reader of the Bulletin an idea of the country passed over by the field party, something of the appearance of the natives, and one of the characteristic burials.

A woman weaving a vertical pattern on a wooden loom
Plate VI — The Guajiro Expedition
Woman weaving
A white church building
Plate VI — The Guajiro Expedition
View looking into an urn full of bones
Plate VI — The Guajiro Expedition
Urn burial
A group of men; a skull; a woman healing a flock of sheep
Plate VI — The Guajiro Expedition
Planting corn; Peachi woman healing sheep

Cite This Article

P., V.. "Guajiro Expedition 1935." Museum Bulletin VI, no. 3 (March, 1936): 90-91. Accessed July 15, 2024.

This digitized article is presented here as a historical reference and may not reflect the current views of the Penn Museum.

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