Volume 41 / Issue 2


Issue Cover

Special Issue: Searching for Early Kings at Copan

The Yehnal Mask beneath the Acropolis at Copan, Honduras. The polychrome painted stucco mask located on the western facade of the Yehnal Platform shows a k'inich (sun) figure.
Photo by Bunny Coates.

From the Director

By: Jeremy A. Sabloff

The Early Copan Acropolis Program (ECAP) of the University of Pennsylvania Museum has been an extraordinarily successful re­search endeavor. Under the able leadership of Dr. Robert Sharer, the Shoemaker Professor and Curator-in-charge of the American Section, and David Sedat, the Project’s field director, the research effort at this great ancient city in Honduras has already […]

The Flowering of the Museum Gardens

From the Archives

By: Alex Pezzati and Jennifer Quick

The University of Pennsylvania Museum sits on a plot of land that had been reserved by the City of Philadelphia for a public park. At the urging of the University of Pennsylvania, City officials were persuaded to transfer the land to the University to be developed as a “museum and botanical garden and park, at […]

Featured Finds from Copan

A Portfolio of Photographs

By: Eleanor Coates

Eleanor (Bunny) Coates is a graduate student in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania. She has worked as a volunteer for the Museum’s Early Copan Acropolis Program since 1991. During the past four seasons, she has been systematically recording objects from the Acropolis by both color and black and white photography. The […]

Confounding the Conquistadors: Tumbaga’s Spurious Luster

Science & Archaeology

By: Stuart J. Fleming

AD 1519, central Panama: the conquistadors were angry. They had promised the Spanish court a mass of gold in return for investing in their risky transatlantic voyage. But having failed to find the legendary gold mines of the region, they had resorted to looting the treasuries of the local chiefs and the grave goods of […]

Uncovering Copan’s Earliest Royal Tombs

By: Ellen E. Bell and Loa P. Traxler and David W. Sedat and Robert J. Sharer

The royal tombs found buried deep within the core of the Acropolis are a potent source of information about Early Classic life at Copan. In order to glean as much information as possible about the tomb occupants and the jumble of objects surrounding them (Fig. I), precise excavation techniques—and infinite patience—are called for. The Margarita […]

Museum Mosaic – Summer 1999

People, Places, Projects

The International Classroom of the Univer­sity of Pennsylvania Museum provided two artist-presenters to the Annual Art Night celebration of Chews Elementary School in Gloucester Town­ship, New Jersey. Artist Yinka Natty Adeyemo of Nigeria demonstrated traditional drumming, and Jingxiang Liang of China shared his expertise in Chinese ink and watercolor painting with the 3000 participants who […]

Dynasty Founder Yax K’uk’ Mo’ According to the Inscriptions

By: John F. Harris

Inscriptions carved on monuments and structures found at Copan tell of a dynasty of rulers, six­teen in number, that held sway over the city for three and a half centuries. The king named Yax K’uk’ Mo’ was the first. Some of the inscriptions record events in the life of Yax K’uk’ Mo’, while others refer […]

Tunneling into the Heart of the Copan Acropolis

By: David W. Sedat and Fernando Lopez

Around AD 426 K’inich Yax K’uk’ Mo’ achieved preeminence at Copan and founded a dynasty. During his reign, a complex of buildings was erected on a platform 100 meters west of the Copan River. The stucco-surfaced platform (named Yune) mea­sured 75 meters on a side and had low walls around it, either for defense or […]

Archaeology and History in the Royal Acropolis, Copan, Honduras

By: Robert J. Sharer

In a tropical valley on the western edge of Honduras lie the mas­sive ruins of Copan. Here Maya farmers once lived, ruled by powerful kings who built magnificent decorated temples and were buried amid a wealth of objects. Today Copan’s importance is recognized in its designation as a World Heritage Site. During the Classic period […]

In Search of Anau’s Past

Research Notes

By: Fredrik T. Hiebert

Before the Russian Revolution, a seventy-year-old American geolo­gist named Raphael Pumpelly headed up one of the first scientific excavations ever mounted in the Near East. He traveled to the large desert basin of Cen­tral Asia, north of Iran, to the site of Anau in Russian Turkestan. Pumpelly was accom­panied by a botanist, a zoologist, his […]