Meet Jose, Field Technician for our Mitigation Division!
When Jose Gutierrez isn’t uncovering Toronto’s past as part of our historical crew, he’s passionately engaging in Peruvian archaeology.
How did you become an archaeologist?
I was always into history but the Indiana Jones trilogy made me want to pursue something similar to what Indy did. I took whatever history or geography courses that were available in high school. I was finally able to take several archaeology and history courses in my undergrad which gave me a better understanding and appreciation for archaeology.
Where did you go to school?
I went to the University of Toronto for both my BA and MA in Anthropology (with a specialization in Archaeology).
If you weren’t an archaeologist, what would you be?
Chef, food critic, or a professional food taster. Anything food related really.
Who is your favourite historical figure and why?
Pachakutiq Inka Yupanki. Known as the ninth Sapa Inka (emperor), Pachakutiq is credited for transforming the Kingdom of Cusco to the Inka empire (Tawantinsuyu). He is also believed to have founded Machu Picchu.
If you were an artifact what would you be?
The Tumi. It’s a sacrificial ceremonial knife that is associated with several Andean cultures such as the Chimú, Inka, Lambayeque, and Moche. Researchers have attributed the knife for use in ceremonial acts in association with a decapitation theme. The Tumi was also used as a surgical tool for trephinations. Also, it looks really cool.
What is your favourite site memory?
In CRM: In general, excavating historic features (i.e. cellars and privies). I wasn’t a huge fan of historic sites prior to working with ASI but working with a knowledgable director (Wes) and having the chance to excavate some pretty cool sites really helped give me a new appreciation for them.
Other: Excavating at the Saruq Al-Hadid site in the United Arab Emirates. We were excavating in the middle of the Rub’ al Khali desert. Found lots of interesting artifacts and met really enthusiastic archaeologists who made me fall in love with archaeology even more.
My least favourite thing about archaeology is…
… the spiders and ticks. I can do without those.
To pass the time on site, I…
…hear and sometimes tell stories of my past experiences (archaeological and non-archaeological).
If I could go back in time and excavate any site in the world, I would choose…
… Chavín de Huantar, a major pre-Incan site North of Lima in Peru. Associated with the Chavín culture, the ceremonial site of Chavín de Huantar is popularly known for its underground labyrinth. Priests ingested a hallucinogenic drink (made using San Pedro cactus) that enhanced the audio and visual experiences of their walk through the passageways. At the centre of the dark passageways resides the Lanźon which is a 4.5 metre pillar representing a central deity.