New SHL Collection of over 500,000 items explores one woman’s quest to uncover the history of the Inca

The Cusichaca archive of over 500,000 papers, photos, maps and plans is is now fully catalogued and available at Senate House Library

Ann Kendall

The legacy of the Cusichaca trust represented through its archive is now available via the University of London, Senate House. What began as a relatively small-scale archaeological project in the Peruvian Andes blossomed into an almost 40-year labour of love that expanded well beyond its initial archaeological focus. In 1978 the Cusichaca Archaeological Project (CAP) was launched by Ann Kendall. The project began as an archaeological one, but when Kendall and her team discovered that many of the systems and sites they were excavating could be brought back to life and used to benefit the locals living there in the present the project became as much reconstructive as it was investigative.

The archive of over 500,000 papers, photos, maps and plans is as rich as it is varied. The collection includes the Trust Governance papers, which relates to the overall running of the Trust’s work and its activities as well as records relating to the Cusichaca, Patacancha, and Ayacucho/Apurimac projects and a plethora of plans and photographs that document the incredible work of the trust, in addition to outreach materials and Ann Kendall’s personal papers from the project. The archive is the memoir of one of the most expansive and influential south-American archaeological projects of the 20th century, and their remaining records act as anchors to a past that is now gone, but should not be forgotten.

Sean Macmillan, Project Archivist working on the Cusichaca Archive, commented: "The work and achievements of the Cusichaca trust are truly exceptional. They turned shadows of the past, into high definition images for the present, and wove a tapestry of progress across the historic Andean landscape. This collection should fascinate anyone who is interested in the Inca, Latin-America, and archaeology because it consistently tracks the trusts tactics and practices spanning nearly 40 years, so that one can essentially observe how the project evolved from the late 1970s to the early 21st century."

To find out more about the Cusichaca archive, read the accompanying blog written by Sean Macmillan.