CSU Stanislaus -- October 17, 2003

Peruvian Archeology Archives Established At CSU Stanislaus

An ancient slice of Peru's archeological history has come to California State University, Stanislaus.

In what could be described as an historian's dream, History Professor Nancy Taniguchi traveled a path through Sacramento and Peru that led to the donation of a priceless collection of archeological research materials to CSU Stanislaus. In May 2002 the University became home to the official archive of the California Institute for Peruvian Studies (CIPS).

The Institute attracted international attention the following July when Dr. Dwight Wallace, a CIPS affiliate, discovered an elaborate and unusual mummy bundle at Cerrillos on Peru's arid southern coast. A woman's body inside had been buried like no one else of her place and time some 13 centuries ago, covered with a colorful feathered textile bracketed by two flanking wings under a mask on the outside of the mummy bundle.

Site records generated by Wallace, a retired archeology professor at State University New York, Albany, had already come to CSU Stanislaus. Wallace's successful application for a National Geographic preservation grant led to a feature on the find in the September 2003 National Geographic. The records currently being generated by this and other spectacular finds will also eventually come to CSU Stanislaus.

“I think this archive opens up a fabulous opportunity for CSU Stanislaus,” Taniguchi said. “Students and faculty will have access to records and a link to Peruvian archaeological sites where they can study and explore.”

CIPS offers archeological field trips to the Peruvian sites annually. More information is available on the Institute's Web site at: www.cipsstudies.org.

A January 2002 meeting with CIPS founder Francis Riddell at his Sacramento home set the stage for Taniguchi to bring the Institute's archives to CSU Stanislaus. Riddell, Senior Archeologist for the State of California who conducted extensive field work in Peru after his retirement, was in failing health at the time and concerned about where the CIPS records could be housed.

Once an aspiring archeologist before becoming a history professor, Taniguchi had already planned to participate in an archeological field trip to CIPS-supervised digs on the southern coast of Peru. Riddell had started his work at the site in 1954 before making it the focus of his life's work for some 20 years.

Just before Riddell's death two months after the meeting in Sacramento, Taniguchi, with the help of now retired University Archivist Bob Santos, brought the Institute's treasure of field notes, journals, records, maps, slides, and photographs to a designated room in the University library. She serves in a private capacity as the archivist and vice president on the CIPS board of directors that includes archeologists from all over the world.

Artifacts recorded by CIPS archeological teams at several sites south of Nazca in southern Peru that include textiles, rock art, bones, and a variety of pottery, are housed in museums there.

For more information on CSU Stanislaus, go to www.csustan.edu.


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