Syphilis in ancient Peru

February 2019

In 1909, Julio C. Tello published a dissertation entitled La antigüedad de la sífilis en el antiguo Perú, which argues that there was sufficient evidence to prove that syphilis existed in the Central Andes during prehispanic times.

Archeologist Julio Tello (1880 – 1947). Museo de Arqueología, Perú, 1937. Archive MNAAHP

This work was part of the requirements to become a surgeon at the School of Medicine of the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos. However, Christian Mesía-Montenegro, Dean of the School of Human Sciences at Universidad Cientifica del Sur, argues that the text can be read as a thesis on medical anthropology.

Julio Tello as a medical anthropologist: assessing the antiquity of syphilis in ancient Peru (HCSM vol.25 no.2 Rio de Janeiro Apr./June 2018) highlights Tello’s method, and scrutinizes his hypothesis on the origin of this disease in the region.



Post a comment