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My first passion was the study of Rock Art, mainly in South America. Then I became an active Pre-Columbian Cultures researcher and lecturer.  

I have participated in several archaeological projects in Argentina and Venezuela, sponsored by UBA-University of Buenos Aires, and UCV- University of Venezuela. In the United Kingdom and have been involved with digs in the north of England and the South of Scotland.  

Currently, I am the Chairman of BAS-Border Archaeological Society and also, Chairman of East Berwickshire U3A, where I lead several groups, among them: Philosophical Coffee; Ancient Civilisations; American Archaeology and 20th Century Art.  

I live in the Scottish Borders, with my husband, a cat and a dog. My only daughter, Ines, is living and studying in Venezuela, a country in which I have spent 19 years of my life.

About  Pre-Columbian Cultures  

When we say “pre-Columbian” we are referring to something that happened or was there BEFORE Columbus. Christopher Columbus (Cristobal Colon in Spanish) was a Genovese adventurer paid by the crown of Spain to find the spice route.  

Spices were very valuable in 16th century and came from the East, from “the Indies”. That is why Columbus thought he had arrived at “the Indies” and for some time, in his letters to King Fernando de Aragon (and to the Queen Isabel de Castilla) he referred to his discovery as “the Indies”.  

So when we say “Pre-Columbian” we diminish the meaning of what we should call “Pre-Contact America”; “American Archaeology”, or “Archaeology of the New World”.  

I usually start my first class with an introduction to “the creation of complex societies”. And I do so because America had had exactly the same development that we had had in Europe, going from hunter-gatherers to settlements with cities, pyramids, temples and tombs.  

There are only two “centres of civilisation” in the Americas: one is the Andean Civilisations (from Colombia to Peru) and the other, is what we call Mesoamerica (a region that covers the South of North America to the North of South America). American civilisations built phenomenal pyramids and temples with no help from animals: no mules, no horses, no bulls, no oxen. They had only llamas in Peru. They knew of the wheel but it was useless without animal pulling power.  

For many centuries, we thought American cultures should be defined as “Pre-historic” because of the lack of a writing system. That proved to be absolutely wrong: The Olmec first, and then the Maya, developed a most intriguing system of hieroglyphs that we can now read.  

In my field, a new discovery is made every day. That is why it is so important to be up-dated. There are several interesting web sites that I use (and that will be available in my entry) and of course, my colleagues and contacts overseas keep me informed as well.  

If you want to start a group studying this subject, I have prepared all my presentations in Keynote (Apple-Mac) but they can be transferred to PowerPoint (Office 2011) which is a more popular format.  

We have to find out how to send it to you. They are heavy files so I can’t use my email for that purpose but I suppose if you send me a pen-drive/memory stick I could download some of them and see if they can be “read” by your PC.  

I’m also available to give talks to your U3A (if you take care of my expenses) and also organise some sort of seminars/short courses to attract some of your members.  

I believe American Archaeology is a fascinating subject that will take you to mysterious cities buried in sand in Peru and to the rain forests of Central America, full of sounds of jaguars, parrots and toucans.  

I always love to see the expression on some faces when we go through all the vegetables and cereals we eat every day without knowing that they came from America!

Two articles I have written can be downloaded here:

The Maya

The Incas

Links:  

www.archaeology.about.com

www.archaeological.org

www.saa.org