June 07, 2008


Live blogging the UCLA/Getty Storage Symposium (part 2)

I forgot to mention the time of the symposium: June 6-8, 2008, at UCLA Fowler Museum.

The next talk is by Sherry Fox on the Wiener Laboratory of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. The current facility is deficient: lack of space, insect isssues, etc. However, money is now available for a new facility to be built soon. They hold comparative collections as well as excavation materials from all over Greece.

Dr. Sonia Guillén (Centro Mallqui, Peru) is talking about her center in Ilo on the south coast. The situation is dire in the region: looting has been and still is rampant. Also, there is urban expansion pressure and problems with getting public support. Perfect conditions for preservation (dry!) are a boon for the many mummies found. Before she arrived there, the old storage facility was totally lacking, no climate control, mummy bundles just stacked. Now a new facility has been built with modern amenities and personnel. They are now preserving and studying the mummies and getting a lot of new information. For instance, in some cases embalming was used. A large quantity of herding dog burials have been found, the same breed as today. They perform rescue excavations due to construction, etc. as well as salvage digs at sites that have been looted. They involve local Aymara women for the textiles. New digs find for example also packaged bundles of human bones. From the inital focus on mummies, they have expanded into more and more biological analyses, e.g., parasites in mummies. In 1979, rumors of mummies found in the cloud forest of Peru: unexpected. The burials at Laguna de los Cóndores were looted and trashed. Still they found mummies: only ones so far from the Inca period. The mummies were "mummified" (treated) here as it is a wet, different climate. The new museum in Leymebamba for these new mummies is attracting tourists and is supported well by the local community. The local people are very interested in their history, feel connected. The Laguna de los Condores mummies are from the Chachapoya (ca. AD 800-1470), Chachapoya-Inca (ca. 1470-1532) and early Colonial (ca. 1532-1570) times.


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