Adolph Bandelier

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Adolph Bandelier
BornAdolph Francis Alphonse Bandelier
August 6, 1840
Bern, Switzerland
DiedMarch 18, 1914(1914-03-18) (aged 73)
Sevilla, Spain
NationalityAmerican / Swiss
Scientific career

Adolph Francis Alphonse Bandelier (August 6, 1840 – March 18, 1914) was a Swiss and American archaeologist who particularly explored the indigenous cultures of the American Southwest, Mexico, and South America. He immigrated to the United States with his family as a youth and made his life there, abandoning the family business to study in the new fields of archeology and ethnology.

Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico was named for him, as his studies established the significance of this area in the Jemez Mountains for archeological and historic preservation of sites of Ancestral Puebloans dating to two eras from 1150 to 1600 CE.


Bandelier was born in Bern, Switzerland. As a youth, he emigrated to the United States with his family, which settled in Highland, Illinois, a community established by other Swiss immigrants. He labored unhappily in the family business as a young man. He became acquainted with the pioneering anthropologist Lewis Henry Morgan of New York, who served as a mentor as Bandelier turned to scholarship. In particular, he undertook archaeological and ethnological work among the Native Americans of the southwestern United States, Mexico, and South America.

Beginning his studies in Sonora (Mexico), Arizona, and New Mexico, Bandelier developed as the leading authority on the history of this region. With F. H. Cushing and his successors, he became one of the leading authorities on its prehistoric civilization, at a time when archeology and ethnology were new fields of study.

In 1892, Bandelier left the Southwest to travel and conduct research in Ecuador, Bolivia, and Peru, where he continued ethnological, archaeological, and historical investigations. In the first field he was in a part of his work connected with the Hemenway Archaeological Expedition. In the second, he worked in NYC for Henry Villard and for the American Museum of Natural History. Bandelier had shown the falsity of various historical myths, notably in his conclusions respecting the Inca civilization of Peru.

While working at the Pueblo of Isleta (in New Mexico), Bandelier made some long-term friends. They included French-born missionary Father Anton Docher, who had served the Tiwa people since 1891 and was known as the Padre of Isleta. Another was American journalist and writer Charles Fletcher Lummis, who also wrote on ethnology. Lummis traveled with Bandelier for a time in South America, before returning to his base in Los Angeles.

Legacy and honors



  1. ^ a b c One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Bandelier, Adolph Francis Alphonse". Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 3 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 311.
  2. ^ Keleher and Chant. The Padre of Isleta. Sunstone Press, 2009, p. 41.
  3. ^ American Antiquarian Society Members Directory. Accessed February 26, 2024.


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Adolph Francis Alphonse Bandelier