The father of Peruvian archaeology, Julio Tello was the most distinguished Native American scholar ever to focus on archaeology. A Quechua speaker born in a small highland village in 1880, Tello did the impossible: he received a medical degree and convinced the Peruvian government to send him to Harvard and European universities to master archaeology and anthropology. He then returned home to shape modern Peruvian archaeology and the institutions through which it was carried out.
Tello’s vision remains unique, and his work has taken on additional interest as contemporary scholars have turned their attention to the relationship among nationalism, ethnicity, and archaeology. Unfortunately, many of his most important works were published in small journals or newspapers in Peru and have not been available even to those with a reading knowledge of Spanish. This volume thus makes available for the first time a broad sampling of Tello’s writings as well as complementary essays that relate these writings to his life and contributions.
Essays about Tello set the stage for the subsequent translations. Editor Richard Burger assesses his intellectual legacy, Richard Daggett outlines his remarkable life and career, and John Murra places him in both national and international contexts. Tello’s writings focus on such major discoveries as the Paracas mummies, the trepanation of skulls from Huarochirí, Andean iconography and cosmology, the relation between archaeology and nationhood, archaeological policy and preservation, and the role of science and museums in archaeology. Finally, the bibliography gives the most complete and accurate listing of Tello’s work ever compiled.
With its abundance of coups, wars, political dramas, class struggle, racial discrimination, looters, skulls, mummies, landslides, earthquakes, accusations, and counteraccusations, The Life and Writings of Julio C. Tello will become an indispensable reference for Andeanists.
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