Tuesday, 16 June 2015

The sorcerer

Tello the archaeologist didn’t start out on that path. He initially wanted to be a doctor, and studied medicine at San Marcos University.

In 1908 he presented his thesis on the antiquity of syphilis in Peru to great acclaim. Indeed according to tio Hernan, it was the first time in the history of Peruvian medicine that a student had graduated with such high distinction.

It was this scientific grounding that later inspired in him the methodological approach to archaeology which he became famous for.  And it was obvious even at this stage that this young man from the mountains was destined for success.

But not to everyone …..

fig 1

The sorcerer
In which the upstanding residents of Comesebo Street become convinced they are harbouring a dangerous psychopath

The tenants in the alley just off Comesebo Street were adjusting to the presence of their rather strange new neighbour. The young man had not made friends with any of them and so no-one knew anything of his occupation or his pursuits. All they knew was that he left very early in the morning and arrived late at night. And they noticed that he was always carrying a load of books under his arm. It was the books that most exasperated some of the local Limeños, who were of the opinion that this serrano was trying to get ahead of himself.

And then something happened that led them to the conclusion that he wasn’t a student at all.