Roger Thayer Stone Center For Latin American Studies

Tulane University

Tulane New Wave: Rare archaeological casts rediscovered in storage

April 6th, 2015

“The unassuming former ammunition shed in Belle Chasse, Louisiana, held a secret. Hidden inside its depths were rare 19th and early 20th century casts of ancient Maya monuments.

As the Middle American Research Institute inventoried Tulane University‘€™s holdings last fall, references to architectural casts not in immediate possession kept appearing. MARI director Marcello Canuto suggested visiting a Tulane storage facility in Belle Chasse, where MARI objects were stored nearly four decades ago. On the first visit, the team realized the collection of casts was larger than imagined. The institute rapidly assembled a team to uncover the contents of the Bunker 28 Tulane storage facility at the F. Edward Hebert Research Center.

What they found was startling. Stacked amidst rolls of fencing and old classroom desks were priceless casts of Maya monuments.

‘€œThey all have a great value within their historical contexts,‘€ notes Caroline Parris, MARI collections manager. ‘€œMany were displayed publicly during the height of American fascination with prehistoric Mesoamerican cultures.‘€

The casts were used not only by colleges and universities, but also were exhibited in traveling exhibitions such as Chicago‘€™s 1933 World‘€™s Fair.”

Read the rest of Mary-Elizabeth Lough’s Tulane New Wave story here.

Mesoamerica + People
Stephen A. Nelson
Professors Emeritus - Earth & Environmental Science