A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America
Construction workers extending the basement of Peru's Congressional Archive have come across the remains of the Western Hemisphere's first university. The president of the Peruvian congress, Martha Hildebrandt, announced that recent renovation revealed walls from the sixteenth-century colonial building that first housed the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos. Peru's flagship university was founded under Spanish royal charter in 1551, making it 85 years older than Harvard. As luck would have it, the discovery of the architectural remains, as well as associated sixteenth-century ceramics and textiles, coincides with the celebration of the university's 450th anniversary--a belated alumni gift from the class of 1551.