Union Académique Internationale

Corpus Antiquitatum Americanensium

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Project n°20, adopted in 1962.

"The Corpus Antiquitatum Americanensium has the goal to publish all of the collections of pre-Columbian objects preserved in various museums in both America and Europe. The Corpus aims to be a resource for research. Thus, each volume must include:

  1. an introduction featuring the history of the collection, its geographical provenance and its degree of reliability,
  2. a description, which will not exceed one page per object and will contain an interpretation that will be clearly separated from the descriptive part,
  3. pictures: all of the pieces need to be photographed, and lastly,
  4. a selective bibliography."

The main purpose of this Project, and the collaboration of the Academies that participate in it, is to give value to the art and culture of the various Amerindian indigenous peoples. This idea was brought up by Dr. Pere Bosch Gimpera during the time he was a part of the Mexican delegation of the UNESCO in Paris, France (1948-54), and a director for the Division of Philosophy and Human Sciences (between 1948 and 1952). Dr. Bosch’s proposal to create this Project - initially called the Corpus of Pre-Colombian Antiquities - was welcomed by the Mexican Council of Humanistic Institutions and then it would be finally approved by the IUA in 1962. From 1975 onwards, the CAA has been operating with a double editing committee, one for America (notably Mexico and Argentina) and the other for Europe. The American part is directed by the COMECSO (Mexican Council for Social Sciences) and the National Academy of History of the Argentine Republic. Its directors have so far been: I. Bernal (1962-1980), J. Litvak-King (1981-1982), M. Foncerrada de Molina (1983-1988),R. Eder (1992-1995) and C. Garcia Belsunce (1999-2018). On the other hand, the European part was directed by The Royal Academies for Science and the Arts of Belgium until 2012. It has been directed by A. Dorsinfang-Smets (1975-1996) and S. Purini (1996-2012). V. Solanilla is now directing the works from Barcelona (since 2012). Regarding the published booklets, it should be taken into account that the results can be utterly disparate since the actual objects contained in those museums might very well also be. Publications depend of course on the provision of adequate human and financial resources on the part of the museums to have their relevant papers published, either by themselves or with outside help. In this regard, setting up of the CAA committees in each country is important as a means of achieving the desired goal.

Involved countries

Argentina, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, France, Italy, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Czech Republic and Switzerland.