7149 - Gerardo Reichel and Alicia Dussan de Reichel in Cartagena, 1954-1960

The Austrian born anthropologist Gerardo Reichel- Dolmatoff lived in the Caribbean port of Cartagena from 1954 to 1960. With his wife, the Colombian anthropologist Alicia Dussan, and his four children he enjoyed very much the laid back atmosphere of a city that had been a very important military enclave of the Spanish Empire, but at the end of the 1960´s was a backwater. Years later his wife was to reflect that it had been a mistake to leave Cartagena for Bogota, since it had been one of the happiest periods in their life.

The years in Cartagena were also one of the most intellectually productive in the very prolific scientific life of this couple. From Cartagena they explored archeological sites in a wide variety of places in the western part of the Colombian Caribbean. In this period they dug in places like: Zambrano, Bolivar, Barlovento, near Cartagena, Momil, Crespo, in Cartagena, among others. The excavations were conducted during the dry season, December-May, and the rest of the year was used for writing, publishing, traveling, teaching at the local university, and organizing future research.

Although this period was very important in the research of Reichel, and laid the conditions for some of his latter discoveries, such as the ceramic of Puerto Hormiga, which for a time was considered the oldest in South America, very little is known about this the life of the Reichels in the city. For this paper I have interviewed numerous persons who lived in Cartagena and were familiar with the Reichels. Fortunately, I was able to identify the circle of local intellectuals with whom he interacted, which was comprised mainly of artists and people with an interest in the arts and literature. One of the reasons for his participation in this circle was the fact that there were no anthropologists or archaeologists in Cartagena at the time.

Keywords: History of Ideas, Gerardo Reichel-Dolmatoff, Cartagena, Caribbean Coast of Colombia

Author: Meisel, Adolfo ()
Co-Author: Colombia / Kolumbien


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