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Direct evidence of 1,900 years of indigenous silver production in the Lake Titicaca Basin of Southern Peru

Schultze, CA; Stanish, C; Scott, DA; Rehren, T; Kuehner, S; Feathers, JK; (2009) Direct evidence of 1,900 years of indigenous silver production in the Lake Titicaca Basin of Southern Peru. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences , 106 (41) pp. 17280-17283. 10.1073/pnas.0907733106. Green open access

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Abstract

Archaeological excavations at a U-shaped pyramid in the northern Lake Titicaca Basin of Peru have documented a continuous 5-m-deep stratigraphic sequence of metalworking remains. The sequence begins in the first millennium AD and ends in the Spanish Colonial period ca. AD 1600. The earliest dates associated with silver production are 1960 + or - 40 BP (2-sigma cal. 40 BC to AD 120) and 1870 + or - 40 BP (2-sigma cal. AD 60 to 240) representing the oldest known silver smelting in South America. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) analysis of production debris indicate a complex, multistage, high temperature technology for producing silver throughout the archaeological sequence. These data hold significant theoretical implications including the following: (i) silver production occurred before the development of the first southern Andean state of Tiwanaku, (ii) the location and process of silverworking remained consistent for 1,500 years even though political control of the area cycled between expansionist states and smaller chiefly polities, and (iii) that U-shaped structures were the location of ceremonial, residential, and industrial activities.

Type: Article
Title: Direct evidence of 1,900 years of indigenous silver production in the Lake Titicaca Basin of Southern Peru
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0907733106
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0907733106
Language: English
Additional information: © 2017 National Academy of Sciences. Website by Boston Interactive
Keywords: Archaeology, Artifacts, Ceramics, Fresh Water, Geography, History, Ancient, Humans, Microscopy, Electron, Scanning, Mining, Peru, Radiometric Dating, Silver
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of SandHS > Institute of Archaeology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of SandHS > Institute of Archaeology > Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1361663
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