Monday, January 10, 2011

Museum of Natural History and Anthropology Juan Cornelio Moyano

The Moyano Museum is one of the oldest museums in the interior of Argentina. The building from 1930s  itself is impressing, you saw it on yesterday' post. But the interior is much more fun. For just 5 pesos (not even one Euro) you can wander through the zoological, geological, paleontological, and anthropological section. We saw a stuffed Darwin Rhea (Pterocnemia pennata, a kind of nandu):

The dinosaurs were fun, the presentation really well done (see for example the 1996 in Malargüe discovered Aerosteon):
but the anthropological section was more fun :) ... of course it was, at least for me. Unfortunately C had already left for Malargüe taken our cam with him. So all I can show you are som hideous photos made with M's mobile cam (which is even worse than my mobile), but anyway, you'll have to endure.

Here is a steatite pan-shaped vessel for offerings from the early Ceramic Period (ca. 500 BC to AD 600) with steatite from Santa Maria del Oro, Rivadavia, Mendoza:

The pottery of the Agrelo culture was also very interesting (you wouldn't believe eh? Just old pots). The typesite 'Agrelo' is just south of Mendoza around which the Agrelo culture flourished from AD 1 - 1000. Look for the incised lines, they are a characteristic. Sometimes just the neck is incised, but sometimes the whole vessel is incised in geometrical designs:

But the best part was the Aconcagua mummy. Not that it was on show, the mummy and the offerings like silver statues of llamas and a gilded female statue are with the university. But there were replicas and some less valuable items and of course photos. It is indeed a quite interesting story; in 1985 the mummy of a 7-year-old boy was found in the Andes at 6300 m asl at a mountain top called Aconcagua, I should have said THE mountain top, because it is the highest in Argentina. From the clothes and offering goods, it is certain that he must have lived during the Inca period, a radiocarbon date confirmed this to the late Inca period. The vomit of the poor boy was stained red by achiote leaves which were found in his stomach and which are supposed to have a hallucinogenous effect (I for some time wanted to try achiote seeds in a couple of recipes, one reason more to do so, I suspect *hehe*) and his body bound so tight that his ribs broke.

A.C. Aufderheide, The scientific study of mummies 2003, fig. 4.48

Isotope studies showed that he ate the last 1 ½ years mainly terrestial food like maize, quinoa, beans and vegetables, but before this time there was a significant input of marine food. So he probably wasn't a native to the Andean area (Fernández et al 1999). But strontium or oxygen analysis are still to be done for a more certain statement. That's all for today, tomorrow I will take you to the area of Uspallata with wild rivers, mountains, cats and nandu feet. See you then.

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