Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Adventure in Peru 5: A funny little museum

It’s been close to a year since I last posted about my trip to Peru.  I’m sorry about that.  I never got done telling all the things we visited and saw; I just left things hanging, and never got around to finishing.

One last Lima sight that we visited was the Museum of Anthropolgy, Biodiversity, and Anthropology, which was founded by French researcher Frederic Engel and is now nominally linked to the National Agriculture University.  It doesn't look impressive at first sight, but the museum actually contains some of the more important agricultural remains in Peru, stretching back 10000 years to the dawn of farming in the country.  There are old, preserved corncobs of different varieties:

Desiccated potatoes

Different types of cotton

And an amazing collection of preserved textiles

We also saw a cool poster in a back office, showing the native corn varieties in different regions of Peru.

In general, the quality of the archeological work early in the 20th century that established much of the collection, and the presentation and curation of the museum, leave much to be desired.  But it is a must-see sight for anyone interested in ancient Peruvian agriculture, with many of the original artefacts recovered from Tres Ventanas, one of the defining archeological sites for South American agricultural history.

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