Saturday, July 6, 2013

Seville: Week 1

After sitting on the tarmac in Montreal for an extra hour, missing my connection to Madrid in London-Heathrow, and my luggage spending the night in Madrid as I settled into my apartment in Seville- I made it. Although a lot went wrong travelling I knew it would all be worth it. Seville is fantastic. I haven't seen a cloud all week. Everything is in bloom. And I have the privilege to walk past some of the most iconic structures everyday as I walk to the archives. One iconic building is the bar "El Rinconcillo" featured above. Which if you look closely was founded in the year 1570! Something that constantly reminds me of the  historical saturation of every single building, church, and bar is the recycled materials that went into their construction. Directly above you'll find consecutive circles making up the foundation of a predominantly brick and mortar building. One of the Spaniards I'm living with told me each circular stone was cut from a Roman column. To me they look like mill stones, but either way you can see how the structures themselves are mosaics of different eras and cultures. Another example of this sort of layering is the Torre del Oro, built by the Almohads to control the river, later a prison, now a naval museum, the tower still shows many architectural signs of Arabic influence. Coincidentally the skyscraper in construction across the river looks almost identical to one I photographed for my blog while I was studying in Jordan.

The two following pictures are two other UNESCO World Heritage Sites down the street from the Torre. I id my best to do the Cathedral and the Archivos justice but they are gigantic. The Archivos are what have drawn me here to Seville. More specifically, they contain hundreds of documents pertaining to General James Wilkinson or as the Spanish knew him Agent 13. Yesterday, I wrapped up my first week of research in the Archivos. My eyes needed a break after the hours I spent sifting through piles upon piles of parchment and spinning through microfilm of Wilkinson's correspondence. Though I originally thought I'd be able to peruse Agent 13's correspondence by hand it turns out the collection is damaged and off limits to the public. Luckily for me everything off limits was converted to microfilm in 2010. To be honest I don't mind missing out on complete access, I can cover more ground buzzing through microfilm slides than a stack of letters anyways.

After failing to enter the Cathedral today, as I was lacking a document with my date of birth on it, I decided I'd adventure around near the river. I ended up hanging out in one of the parks reading the newspaper. I think this massive building through the trees might be part of the university.

Every commute to the Archivos or anywhere in central Seville takes me through a serpentine path of cobblestone roads. I am very lucky to be staying so close to the Archivos. I'm only 15 minutes on foot.

To end this post I thought I'd go back in time to when this project was just beginning to crystallize. I've included a picture of me in front of the sign for my exhibit in St. Lawrence special collections. It was only beginning to dawn on me how much awaited me in Los Archivos de Indias. If your interested in what my exhibit entailed here's the catalogue/report I organized I can't believe how much my research has developed in two years. I want to thank everyone who has helped me along the way; Dr. Schrems, Tim Cryderman, Mark McMurray, Paul Hagget, Dr. Jennings, Dr. Ponce-Vázquez, Dr. Eissenstat, Martha Sawyer. The list goes on and on. I believe justice has yet to be done in the case of General James Wilkinson and I'm doing my best to form a more impartial interpretation of his connection to the Spanish. Thanks for reading.

*The Watertown Times owns the right to this photo.

No comments:

Post a Comment