Sitio Conte Excavations Come to Life on the Web

From the Archives

By: Alex Pezzati

Originally Published in 1999

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J. Alden Mason wrote this unabashed paean to the American Section’s Linton Sat­terthwaite when he was excavating at Sitio Conte, on the Pacific Coast of Panama, in 1940. Mason was ebullient about his exciting finds of gold objects in an elaborate burial. He led a team from the University of Pennsylvania Museum that excavated at this Pre-Columbian cemetery site for four months, uncovering great quantities of gold, painted pottery, and other artifacts dating to ca. AD 450-900. This work was a continuation of that carried out at the site by Harvard University’s Peabody Museum between 1930 and 1933. The efforts of these two institutions marked the first scientifically controlled archaeological excavations in Panama.

The Museum Archives has completed a proj­ect to digitize and make available over the World Wide Web all the excavation records from Mason’s expedition. With funding from the National Science Foundation, the Archives staff has scanned all letters, photographs, and field notes to provide on-line access to the documen­tation from the site. This project complements the Museum’s blockbuster exhibition “River of Gold” that traveled the country (appearing most recently at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 1996). Scholars and other visi­tors can direct their Web browsers to http:// www. museum.upenn edu/Sitio Conte/index. html to experience firsthand the excavations of pio­neer archaeologists and to learn about the fan­tastic riches of a lost culture.

Alex Pezzati Reference Archivist

Cite This Article

Pezzati, Alex. "Sitio Conte Excavations Come to Life on the Web." Expedition Magazine 41, no. 3 (November, 1999): -. Accessed April 18, 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This digitized article is presented here as a historical reference and may not reflect the current views of the Penn Museum.

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