These past few months have been pretty hectic. After enjoying a busy, but predictable, routine in Seville in January and the first week of February, I came to Peru. In Peru, todo es posible; all is possible. Really really really possible! I started off in the national archives, but my third week in, the archivist put sheet of paper in front of me announcing that the National Archives (Archivo General de la Nacion) will be shut down for the next three months due to a string of robberies. I know what you’re thinking, and no, it wasn’t me! The Biblioteca Nacional del Peru also suffered a string of robberies the past few years and was also shut down for three months. Sadly, I also planned to do more work there. Luckily, I am basically finished with the national archives, but had hoped to get digital copies of some of the more interesting documents. This can wait.
I spent the rest of my time in the Archivo San Francisco and the Archivo Arzobispal de Lima. The latter didn’t have anything specific on Pomacocha, mainly because Pomacocha is in the domain of Huamanga, but had some great documents relating to the sacred nature of walls and large stones as part of the home. This dovetailed nicely with my architectural reconnaissance of Pomacocha last summer. Unfortunately, I think the Archivo Arzobispal de Huamanga has been non-functional for a while now, and the Convento de Santa Clara, given that they have had a long troubled history with their hacienda-obraje of Pomacocha, has been unwilling to let me into their archives. The church archives in Vischongo apparently has a lot of relevant documents, and I will be checking that out shortly.
In other news, I finally submitted our excavation permit proposal a couple of weeks ago, after some unexpected difficulties.
Someone who has also run an independent research archaeological project in Peru told me that for her, fieldwork was one step forward and two steps back. It certainly feels that way. I hope that the step forward is more like a leap forward.
I also found out that the Fulbright Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad has been cancelled for Fiscal Year 2011. Tragic. I feel incredibly lucky to have one and am trying to make the most of it. I believe that everyone who has it do what they’re doing out of passion, so they’re quite efficient with the funds given to them. I’ve made it a priority to take public transportation whenever possible and live below the stipend level given (which is amazingly generous) to make sure that the funds go a long way in helping Peruvian archaeologists. Hopefully, as principle, I hope to return a bit of money to Fulbright Hays after all this is done. I will see it as a personal challenge. I remember getting my first ever grant to mint reproduction Roman coins. I asked for 474 dollars, and they said it was impossible for me to do it with that money, so they gave me 1000 instead. They were right. I spent nearly 1000 dollars (silver is expensive), but I didn’t have them refund me for supplies I didn’t end up using (blocks of charcoal), so it cost them a little over 900 dollars in the end.
I’m both excited and anxious for this field season. At our height in August, we will have 13 people. That’s 13 people to feed well, house, transport, teach (and learn from), pay (some of them), and keep reasonably happy. All on a shoestring budget. That’s why I’m eating Ramen daily to save money.