Alphonse Pinart

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Alphonse Pinart
Born 1852
Boisdinghem, Marquise, Pas-de-Calais
Died February 13, 1911
Nationality French
Spouse(s) Zelia Nuttall

Alphonse Pinart (1852–1911) was a French explorer, philologist, and ethnographer. He was an early champion of the theory that the Americas were first populated by migration across the Bering Strait. To support his research, he made extensive travel in the Pacific, from Alaska and the Aleutian Islands[1][2] to Easter Island. He also pilfered numerous historical documents from the Spanish archives in Santa Fe, New Mexico:[3]

Large numbers of documents of this period [from 1743 to 1749] were . . . stolen and are now in the so-called “Pinart” collection. Pinart (Alphonse) was a Frenchman and visited New Mexico and Arizona in the early ‘seventies [1870's], at which time this “collection” was made.

Alternatively, he may have purchased the documents from someone at the archives. Twitchell was not in Santa Fe when this alleged theft took place, and Twitchell is described as "... the most prolific New Mexico historian of his period, although his works were often seen as biased." [4]

He recorded vocabularies of the Mission Indians in California, and also documented early rock art in Aruba. In 1875, he purchased a crystal skull and other ethnographic artifacts from Eugène Boban, which was later donated to the Trocadéro Museum.[5]


  • Caverne d'Aknañh, île d'Ounga(archipel Shumagin, Alaska). Paris, E. Leroux 1875
  • Voyage à l'Ile de Pâques (Océan Pacifique) (Voyage to Easter Island) (in French; see External Link below for English translation)[6]
  • Pinart, Alphonse (1890). Vocabulario castellano-cuna. Paris: E. Leroux. 


  1. ^ "Alutiiq Masks Return After 136 years". Retrieved 2008-06-06. 
  2. ^ Steffian, Amy; Haakanson, Sven (2009). "Coming Home, If Only for a Visit". National Museum of the American Indian (Spring): 34–40. 
  3. ^ Ralph Emerson Twitchell, “The Spanish Archives of New Mexico”, Vol. 2, pp. 213-214 (1914).
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Museum admits real-life Indiana Jones handed over a dud 'relic' 130 years ago". Retrieved 2008-05-26. 
  6. ^ Pinart, Alphonse (1877). VOYAGE A L'ILE DE PAQUES (OCÉAN PACIFIQUE) (on-line book text) (in French). Retrieved 2008-12-16. 

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