I recently returned from the Americas, where I presented a paper at the 3rd Intercontinental Conference in Oaxaca, Mexico, organised by the Society for American Archaeology. The title of the paper was ‘¿Dónde la fantasía confluye con la arqueología? Primeras teorías de contacto transpacífico precolombino en la literatura científica europea’ (‘Where fantasy meets archaeology? Early pre-Columbian trans-Pacific contact theories in the European scientific literature’). It was a great opportunity to present a paper in my native language and country of birth before distinguished academics from the USA, Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Argentina and other nations.
I also had the opportunity to spend some time in Santiago, Chile and Buenos Aires, Argentina conducting research for my thesis. In Santiago I visited the National Library, which houses the ”Biblioteca Americana Jose Toribio Medina’, designed by Medina himself, a prolific Chilean historian. In Buenos Aires I visited the National Library, the Library of Congress, as well as the National Teachers’ Library, housed in a beautiful 19th Century building. I also had the opportunity to do some work at the Juan B. Ambrosetti Ethnography Museum‘s archives, where I found some interesting correspondence by Eric Boman and Jose Imbelloni, among others. In this museum’s library I also found copies of the early editions of the journal ‘Runa‘, which are yet to be digitised and contain relevant articles for my research.
This was my second and final field trip after the August 2016 one, where I also visited Peru. It was very successful as I finished looking at all the materials I was hoping to go through. I also made some additional discoveries, including a publication by Aureliano Oyarzún and Ricardo E. Latcham which briefly mentions potential trans-Pacific contact between the Americas and Polynesia evidenced by similarities in a particular textile pattern. This was rather interesting, particularly given the references quoted, including one by Eunice E. Gibbs Allyn (The Evolution of the Greek Frette), even though I still haven’t found a copy. Also enlightening was defining what could be termed as the ’19/20 Polynesian-American links’ multinational circle of thinkers’, spanning from the late 19th until the mid 20th centuries and including names like Rivet, Beyer, Uhle, Aichel, Menghin, Imbelloni and others.