In mid-August 2003, three mysterious boxes labeled "Trik" surfaced in
Tikal Archives. Simultaneously an archivist's dream and nightmare, the
boxes held more than 2,700 images, as well as letters, documents, and
drawings belonging to Aubrey Trik. The story of how the boxes arrived at
the Museum and who took the photos is still unfolding. The photographs are
some of the most remarkably preserved color images of Penn's excavations at
Tikal, for which Trik served as field director. The collection also
includes stunning images of other Maya sites, Guatemala in the 1950s and
60s, Mexico, Greece, Turkey, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, China, and Hong Kong.
(Trik got around.) Using images from this collection for the first time,
Ms. Misdea discussed the Penn Tikal Project - through the eyes of Aubrey
and Helen Trik. She also covered the Triks' careers, the archival
challenges presented by the location of this material, an update on the
Tikal Digital Access Project, and recent news from Tikal.
Sharon Aponte Misdea is a Research Associate in the American Section
University of Pennsylvania Museum and Project Manager for the Tikal Digital
Access Project, which will make the entire archives from the University
Museum's 15 years of historic research at Tikal, Guatemala, openly available
on the web. She is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Anthropology at
Penn and has been doing field research in Guatemala and Belize for almost a
decade. Before that, she participated in field research in New Jersey,
Wyoming, and South Dakota. Her current research examines how social memory
and history are used to establish, maintain, and disrupt relationships
between epicentral Tikal and its minor urban centers. Her most recent
fieldwork has been with the Proyecto Triangulo, under the direction of Dr.
Vilma Fialko of the Guatemalan Instituto de Antropologia e Historia, at
Uolantun, just 4 km to the southeast of downtown Tikal.
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