Philipp J. J. Valentini

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Philipp J. J. Valentini
Born 1828
Berlin, Germany
Died March 16, 1899(1899-03-16) (aged 70)
New York
Occupation explorer and archaeologist
Nationality Germany / USA
Alma mater University of Berlin, University of Jena
Subject Maya civilization, Mexican calendar stone

Philipp Johann Joseph Valentini (1828 – March 16, 1899)[1] was an explorer and archaeologist of the Central American Pre-Columbian cultures. He worked extensively on diciphering the Mexican calendar stone.


Philipp J. J. Valentini was born to a German mother and Italian father in Berlin, Germany in 1828. His father was probably a tutor at the royal court of Prussia. He attended the Gymnasium of Torgau and later the University of Berlin before he left Germany for Costa Rica where he founded the seaport Puerto Limón under government auspices in 1854.[1][2]

In 1858 he returned to Germany to obtain a PhD at the University of Jena, writing his dissertation about the early history of Costa Rica. From 1861 to 1871 Valentini went back once again to Costa Rica to work as a coffee planter, but travelled extensively in Central America. After 1871 he went to New York where he spent the rest of his life until his death in March 1899.[2] Valentini was elected a member of the American Antiquarian Society in 1879. [3] He wrote a number of scholarly articles on his archaeological work in Central America that were published in the proceedings of the society.


Articles in Scientific Magazines
in "Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society":

Most of these were released later in book format.

Other Works

Note: Most of the texts have been translated to English by Stephen Salisbury Jr.


  1. ^ a b Encyclopedia Americana (1918–1920), Vol. XXVII, p. 645-646 online version at Internet Archive (last viewed May 24, 2011)
  2. ^ a b Stephen D. Houston, Oswaldo Fernando Chinchilla Mazariegos, David Stuart (editors): The Decipherment of Ancient Maya Writing, Univ. of Oklahoma Press (May 2001), p. 97; ISBN 978-0-8061-3204-4
  3. ^ American Antiquarian Society Members Directory

Further reading[edit]

  • Der Deutsche Pionier. Monatsschrift für Erinnerungen aus dem deutschen Pionier-Leben in den Vereinigten Staaten., 14. Jahrgang 1882/1883, p. 479: Review of "Two Mexican Chalchinites, The Humboldt Celt, and The Leyden Plate" and "Mexican Paper. An Article of Tribute; Its Manufacture, Varieties, Employment and Use" (German) online version at Forschungsstelle Deutsche Auswanderer in den USA – Dausa (last viewed: May 24, 2011)
At the Internet Archive