Congratulations, Monica Pacheco Silva!

Discussing the Lienzo and the geography of the area with the authorities of Santa Maria Nativitas, Oaxaca, Mexico | Foto: Calderon Urbina© 2015

1. Monica, the topic of your dissertation is “The Lienzo Seler II in the Ethnologisches Museum Berlin: an old document through a new perspective”. Why did you choose this topic and what did you hope to find out?

The goal of the dissertation was to achieve a better understanding of the Lienzo Seler II, an early colonial document (XVI c.) from Oaxaca, Mexico, that recounts the history of the area and its ruling city-states through prehispanic pictographic writing. The study, through an interdisciplinary approach, focused in the archaeological data, ethnohistoric documents, the actual geography and the latest research in the topic. Lastly, fieldwork has provided the anthropological backdrop that enabled an interpretation of the document.

2. You were a doctoral student in BerGSAS and you have successfully completed the program “Landscape Archaeology and Architecture”. In addition, you were a member of the Topoi Research group “Common sense geography”. In your experience, what are the benefits of a structured PhD program?

The program Landscape Archaeology and Architecture gave me not only a platform for the research but the framework in which my research was molded and directed. The amazing chance to interact with people from other disciplines and research areas gave me not only a broader scope but took me out of the familiar topic and environment and gave me the chance to think “outside the box”.

3. What do you take away from your time as a doctoral student at BerGSAS?

Not only the incredible value of an interdisciplinary research, but also the possibility of meeting with other research areas and researchers in order to bring new light or perspectives into old discussions.

4. What advice would you give to students who are about to begin their PhD program?

Try to stay focused and reduce the topic as much as possible, but still contact others to expand the scope of your ideas.

5. During the “Berliner Antike in der James-Simon-Galerie – Personen und Objekte“ event on the 27th of November, you and other recent PhD graduates will receive your official PhD certificate. What do you plan to do next?

Job opportunities are scarce, but I want to try to continue with research, whether through a Post-Doc or through an institution.

The imposing landscape from the old colonial church tower in San Juan Bautista Coixtlahuaca | Foto: Pacheco Silva © 2014


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