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Basic Biographical Information
Carlos Alberto Aschero was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1946. His professional career began in the field of visual arts. In 1969, he graduated as art school teacher of drawing and, in 1972, as teacher of drawing and engraving. At the same time that he was studying visual arts, he began to study anthropological sciences at the University of Buenos Aires (UBA) where he graduated as Bachelor in Anthropological Sciences who specialized in prehistory and archaeology in 1974.
Between 1973 and 1975, Carlos Alberto Aschero began his career at CONICET (National Council of Scientific and Technical Research) as an initiation scholarship researcher. In April 1977, he began a career as a scientific researcher. He was an independent researcher between 1977 and 1996, and later he became senior researcher. As a CONICET researcher, Aschero was a member of the Advisory Commission on History, Anthropology and Geography for several periods between 2000 and 2012. He was the coordinator of the Commission between 2004 and 2007 and a member of CONICET Qualification Board between 2003 and 2004.
Carlos Alberto Aschero is currently Principal researcher at the ISES Institute of Social Studies, CONICET-National University of Tucumán (UNT). He was interim director between 2010 and Vice Director until 2016. He was representative of CONICET monitoring the Archeometry Laboratory Project (LALAR-INDyA, MINCyT-CONICET) and is currently the chairman of the board of directors of that organization, which was recently created in Argentina.
In 1971, Carlos Alberto Aschero began his teaching career while still a student at the National University of Tucumán, where he worked as associate professor. He was assistant professor between 1983 and 1993 of the Ergology and Technology Chair. From 1991, he was temporary Associate Professor of the Faculty of Natural Sciences of the National University of Tucumán and the Institute of Archaeology and Museum (IAM) until 1996. He was Director of the Institute of Archaeology, from 1995 to 1996, and Director of the IAM, between 1995 and 2002. In 2005, he became Full Professor of the Theory and Methods Chair in Archaeology of the Archaeology Department of the same faculty at UNT. From 2008, he reduced his full-time commitment to the post to part-time. He eventually became Honorary Director of the Institute from 2006 to 2010. He was also Professor of Field Practice III.
Carlos Aschero continued to work after his official retirement from CONICET in 2010. In 2018, he teaches about the rock art and hunter gatherers of Puna and Patagonia, within the International MASTER PREFALC in South American Prehistory Theory, Methodology and Practice of the University of Rennes 1 (France) and the National University of Trujillo (Perú). He was President of the Argentine Society of Anthropology between 1990 and 1993, and he is now an honorary member.
In 1996 Carlos Alberto Aschero received the KONEX Award for the Humanities, and in 2001 he received the Bunge and Born Foundation award for his scientific career. He is a highly regarded archaeologist in South America. He is a specialist in diverse archaeological subjects and initially was part of the Argentine cultural historical school within C. Gradin’s team. His first works reveal a strong influence from the French school, particularly of M. Brezillon, A. Leroi Gourhan, and F. Bordes (Aschero 1973).
Aschero worked on human productions derived from the concept of ergology in technofactures (both things or objects and symbolic representations), developing various research programs on the lifestyles of hunter-gatherer groups and rock art in Argentina. His work on lithic typology (1983) has been a reference to Argentine archaeologists and has had international impact, which is remarkable, since it was never been published in a widely available medium.
Carlos Alberto Aschero’s research on hunter-gatherer societies in the Southern Patagonian Andean area (Cuenca del Río paintings, Casa de Piedra Mount, Pueyrredón Lake, Santa Cruz Province) (Aschero and Aguerre 1979) and in the Northwest of Argentina (Puna Salada in Antofagasta de la Sierra, Inca Cave, Azul Pampa, Susques) (Aschero 2014) laid the foundations for a regional archaeology for those two regions of Argentina. In the same way, his research in these regions influenced the study of the process of American settlement (Aschero 2000), revealing the antiquity of human settlement in this part of the continent from very early dates.
His regional projects on rock art combined aspects in which symbolics were integrated into the vision, strategies, and social organization of these groups in relation to their natural environment (Aschero 2007). He also contributed to the historical reconstitution of different artistic styles, working on a diachronic reading of mural representations based on study of their production techniques, the reading of their structures and associations, and their relationship to the archaeological remains related to their manufacture. In his courses and publications, he delved deeper into the relationship between style and function, contributing to an enriched reading of these productions and to generating different readings of both the structures underlying those productions and the objects themselves, their manufacturing modalities and use.
In terms of his contributions to archaeological theory, Aschero developed an integrated view of archaeology in its social context and of its participation in the process of identity construction. Here, the influence of the postmodern school through Ian Hodder or Tim Ingold can be perceived. This is clearly seen in his recent works where humanism, ecology, and landscape are articulated as methods to explain cultural processes and hunter-gatherers’ ways of living (Aschero 2010). His influence on Argentine archaeology is very important because he formed a school for his research as well as for training professionals (in the UBA as well as in the UNT). These scholars now occupy important position in the archaeology of the country. The range in their theoretical orientations reflects the intellectual freedom with Aschero encouraged during his career as an educator. The audiovisual production created by CONICET between 2014 and 2016, Indigenous Technologies, reflects Aschero’s theoretical approaches and his multiple interests. It comprehensively conveys the breadth of his vision of archaeology, dealing with different aspects of Argentine archaeology from the settlement of the continent to the appearance of metallurgy. After he retired, he continued to work as archaeologist at Cueva Cacao 1 site at the Puna Catamarca province in Argentina. In 2018, human hair from his excavations was dated by the Centre for Isotope Studies at the University of Georgia to more than 40,000 BP (UGAMS # 33465, Sample ID M33-D5), opening up new debate concerning the peopling of South America.
- Aschero, C.A. 1973. Secuencia arqueológica del alero de las manos pintadas, Las pulgas departamento de Rio Senguerr Chubut. Relaciones 7: 187–209.Google Scholar
- Aschero, C.A. 1983. Ensayo para una clasificación morfológica de artefactos líticos. Buenos Aires: Instituto de Antropología. Revisión.Google Scholar
- Aschero, C.A. 2000. El poblamiento del Territorio in: Tarrago Myriam Comp. Nueva Historia Argentina TOMO I Argentina Prehispánica, 17–57. Buenos Aires: Editorial Sud americana.Google Scholar
- Aschero, C.A. 2007. Iconos, Huancas y Complejidad en la Puna sur argentina. In Producción y circulación prehispánicas de bienes en el sur andino. Colección Historia Social Precolombina, vol 2, 135–165. Compiladores: A.E. Nielsen, M.C. Rivolta, V. Seldes, M. Vázquez, P. Mercolli. Ed. Brujas, Córdoba. ISBN: 978-987-591-107-9.Google Scholar
- Aschero, C. A. 2010. Arqueologías de Puna y Patagonia centro-meridional: comentarios generales y aporte al estudio de los cazadores-recolectores puneños en los proyectos dirigidos desde el IAM (1991–2009). Rastros en el camino…Trayectos e identidades de una Institución. Homenaje a los 80 años del IAM. Arenas, P., C.A. Aschero, C. Taboada EDUNT, San Miguel de Tucumán. 257–293. . ISBN 978-987-1366-72-9. Chapter 25Google Scholar
- Aschero, C.A. 2014. Hunters-gatherers of the Puna in a temporal perspective (10.500–3500 BP) Hunter-gatherers from a high altitude desert. People of the Salt Puna Oxford. 2014. 25–42.Google Scholar
- Aschero, C.A., and A.M. Aguerre. 1979. Arqueología del área Río Pinturas. Relaciones 13: 187–227.Google Scholar