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Reappraisal of the Contexts of Appropriation and Acquisition of Archaeological Objects From Central America in the Collections of the Ethnologisches Museum

This project focuses on archaeological objects that came to Germany from the countries of Central America in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Whilst it is true that the countries of Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras gained independence from the Spanish Empire in 1821, the enduring structures of colonial power have continued to have an impact well into the 20th century. During this period, German businesspeople took advantage of the fragile political situation of the time to make profits in trade and exploit natural resources, which is how, despite never being a colonial power in the region, Germany managed to secure the import of so many objects. Their extraction of resources from the land included removing and then trading archaeological objects, which were in great demand in Europe at the time.

Institutions: Zentralarchiv, Ethnologisches Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
Project Coordinator: Birgit Sporleder
Duration: since 2021