University Museum director discusses pre-Columbian exhibit

University Museum Director Eric Barnett gave a lecture last week about the museum’s pre-Columbian exhibit that is currently on display at the Edwardsville Arts Center.

University Museum Director Eric Barnett gives a lecture at the Edwardsville Arts Center, where pre-Columbian pieces from the museum are currently on display.

The exhibit gives a representative example of a “wide variety of pre-Columbian artifacts,” according to Barnett.

Barnett also noted some of the pieces in the exhibit were found in good condition and altered to look more distressed.

Additionally, tests on some of the smaller gold pieces in the exhibit did not return positive results. Barnett said tests for gold only go down to eight karats, and some of the pre-Columbian pieces were only 20 percent gold and the rest copper, meaning the gold might not show up in a test.

Most of the pieces in the exhibit were ceramics and gold and bronze pieces. Barnett said he has some textiles, but they are not yet prepared for display.

He also said all of what is known about people in the western part of Mexico “derives from tombs that have been excavated.”

The majority of that excavation, according to Barnett, was done by graver robbers who threw away plain, ceramic items and kept the highly decorative pieces, thus giving the false impression that all the pottery in western Mexico was highly decorated.

The pre-Columbian pieces in the museum’s collection continue to grow in “small increments,” according to Barnett. The first pieces were donated to the university in 1984 by Irvin and Margaret Dagen.

Roughly 15 people attended the lecture. The exhibit runs through Feb. 8. For more information, visit

Be Sociable, Share!

Filed Under: Faculty News


Comments are closed.

Switch to our mobile site