J. Alden Mason

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John Alden Mason (* 1885 in Orland , Indiana ; † November 7, 1967 ) was an American archaeologist , anthropologist and linguist .

The focus of his research was on various indigenous cultures from North, Central and South America.

Mason grew up in Philadelphia's Germantown . He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1907 and his doctorate in 1911 from the University of California, Berkeley . His dissertation was an ethnographic study of the Salinan , an Indian tribe in California . He was also the author of a number of linguistic studies including a study of the Pima languages. His later ethnographic work also included studies of the Tepehuán (Mexico) as well as the collection of evidence of the oral culture of the Arawak , the African American and the early Spanish colonial days in Puerto Rico .

Mason was curator of the University Museum at the University of Pennsylvania from 1926 until his retirement in 1958 .

In 1952 he toured Peru . He wrote his main work about ancient Peru: The Ancient Civilizations of Peru (German under the title: Das alten Peru: Eine Indianische Hochkultur. )

His papers are held by the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia .


  • The ethnology of the Salinan Indians. Berkeley, The University Press, 1912 (University of California Publ. In: American Archeology & Ethnology. 10/4; pp. 97-240; plts. 21-37).
  • The Ancient Civilizations of Peru. Harmondsworth et al. a. : Penguin Books, 1957
    • German under the title: The old Peru: An Indian high culture. By Ferdinand Anton. Transfer from d. Engl. By Hannes WA Schoeller, Magnus cultural history. Essen: Magnus-Verlag 1975 (first in Kindler's cultural history )
  • Notes on the Indians of the Great Slave Lake area. New Haven: Yale University Press [et. a.], 1946 (Yale University Publications in anthropology 34)
  • with George Agogino: The Ceremonialism Of The Tepecan. Eastern New Mexico Univ. 1972

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Nicolás Kanellos (Ed.): Handbook of Hispanic Cultures in the United States: Literatur and Art . Univ. of Houston 1993, pp. 235 f.