Constanza Ceruti

Constanza Ceruti is an anthropologist and mountain climber who lives in northwest Argentina. After her graduation as an anthropologist at University of Buenos Aires in 1996, she earned her Ph.D. at University of Cuyo (Mendoza) in 2001. She has become a specialist in the fields of high altitude archaeology and the anthropology of sacred mountains.  She is Scientific Investigator of the National Council for the Scientific Research (CONICET) in Argentina and a Professor at the Catholic University of Salta, as well as the founder and Director of the Institute of High Mountain Research at the same University. She is the only female Andean high-altitude archaeologist in the world.

    Ceruti has climbed over 100 mountains above 16,500 feet (5000 meters) within the context of systematic archaeological research. She has been twice on top of Aconcagua (6962 m), the highest mountain in the western hemisphere, and she ascended to the summit of Mt. Pissis (6882 m) one of the two highest volcanoes in the world. She has climbed high peaks in Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru, Chile and Argentina, as well as in Mexico and Nepal. She is the author of more than one hundred scientific papers and twenty books. 

On the summit of volcano Llullaillaco (22,100 feet), the site of the highest archaeological work ever undertaken, she co-discovered three of the best preserved mummies in the world, together with several gold and silver statues and sumptuary objects of typical Inca style. After coordinating the scientific studies of the mummies and artifacts for six years, Ceruti co-authored a book on Inca Rituals and Sacred Mountains published by the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at UCLA. 

Her anthropological interest in sacred mountains and world´s religions goes beyond the vast Andean range. She has been to the Nepal Himalayas, India, Thailand, Australia, Polynesia, Egypt, Morocco, Turkey, Greece, Norway, Italy, France, Spain, Germany, Greenland, Canada, Alaska, United States, Mexico, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Brazil, Peru and Chile. She has lectured extensively and participated in dozens of conferences worldwide.

The University of Buenos Aires awarded her with the Gold Medal. Her mountaineering achievements have been recognized with the Gold Condor, the most important award by the National Army of Argentina, for the first time given to a woman. In 2005 she became an Emerging Explorer of the National Geographic Society. In 2006 she was among the few honorees at the Prince of Asturias Award Ceremony, when the Communication and Humanities Award was given to the National Geographic Society. In 2007 she received the Courage Award from the Wings Worldquest and she was honored as a Distinguished Lecturer in Anthropology at the University of West Georgia (USA). In 2008 she received an award for her Academic Vocation in Buenos Aires. In 2009 she was a TED fellow and invited speaker at the TED global meeting in Oxford (England), as well as a Rising Talent and invited speaker at the Women´s Forum for the Economy and Society in Deauville (France). In 2010 she was honored among the most outstanding women in Salta. In 2011 she was honored by authorities in the Basque Country and she lectured at the University of Harvard. In 2014 she received an Honorary Doctorate in Humanities at the Moravian College in Pennsylvania. In 2017 she was awarded the Gold Medal of the International Society of Woman Geographers.