Indiana Jones has nothing on this art history professor who waded into the wild jungles of South America in search of colonial architecture and artifacts.
David Kowal has spent much of his life studying the art and architecture of Jesuit missionary settlements in former Portuguese and Spanish colonies.
It's hardly been enough time, especially since he recently focused his attention on the subject of greater Paraguay's "reducciones."
"I have basically just scratched the surface. I need four or five lifetimes to do everything," says Kowal, an art history professor at the College.
Reducciones, he explains, are the 16th-, 17th- and 18th-century settlements that Jesuit priests established as a means of converting South America's Guarani Indians to Christianity.
In exchange for accepting Christian teachings, Kowal explains, the Guarani Indians received protection within the reducciones from Old World colonists who might have killed or enslaved them. The two or three Jesuit priests who lived alongside a few thousand natives in each reduccion taught the Guarani Indians various trades, making for an interesting mix of aesthetics.
"You end up with hybridized artistic forms, structure and sculpture that are not strictly European though they depict Christian themes"