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Repository: Peabody Museum Archives, Harvard University
Call No.: 994-4
Location: Peabody Museum Archives
Title: Burkitt, Robert James, 1869-1945 Papers,
Date(s): 1892-1896 (inclusive)
Creator: Burkitt, Robert James
Quantity: .1 linear foot(1 folder, 8 letters and 1 poem)
Abstract: The records contain the correspondence of Robert James Burkitt from 1892 to 1896 and pertain to Burkitt's involvement with the Peabody Museum Honduras Expedition to Copan.
Robert James Burkitt (b. January 18, 1869; d. February 17, 1945) graduated from Harvard in 1891, where he had formed a strong friendship with George Byron Gordon, the latter, director of the Penn Museum. After graduation Gordon went to Central America while Burkitt remained in Boston. In 1895, Burkitt joined his friend Gordon in Honduras to help with the Peabody Museum Copan Excavations. Having no formal training in archaeology, Burkitt dug trenches, unearthed artifacts, learned the nuances of photography, and learned how to properly take mold impressions. At the end of June of 1895, Gordon returned to Cambridge, while Burkitt, who was captivated by the country and culture, decided to remain in Central America. Having a strong talent for languages and a keen interest in the native groups of Guatemala, Burkitt prided himself in learning the Kekchi language better than any other foreigner. For the rest of his life Burkitt worked on creating a grammar and dictionary of the language.Sources:
- Danien, Elin. " Send Me Mr. Burkitt...Some Whisky and Wine: Early Archaeology in Central America" in Expedition: The University Museum Magazine of Archaeology/Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania. vol. 27, no. 3. 1985.
The records contain one folder of the correspondence of Robert Burkitt (1892-1896). The subjects of the files include Robert Burkitt's involvement with the Peabody Museum Honduras Expedition to Copan of 1894-1895. Also included in the file is a poem by Henry Collins Walsh eulogizing the death of John Owens on 2/23/1892.
- Central American Expedition Records, 1890-1911, #93-27
- Charles P. Bowditch Papers, 1868-1918, #41-7