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Early copper smelting at Itziparatzico, Mexico

Maldonado, B; Rehren, T; (2009) Early copper smelting at Itziparatzico, Mexico. J ARCHAEOL SCI , 36 (9) 1998 - 2006. 10.1016/j.jas.2009.05.019.

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Abstract

Archaeological fieldwork and archaeometallurgical analysis have identified a Late Postclassic regional centre of copper production in western Mexico. The total output from a single unit of production at the site of Itziparatzico is an estimated ten tons of copper and nearly forty tons of slag over the lifetime of the installation. It is argued that this smelting was based on slag-tapping furnaces, a technology previously unknown from Mesoamerican archaeological sites. The smelting site is in dense woodland with ample fuel supply, some 125 km from the next mining area with documented contemporary ore extraction; the copper produced would have been passed on to the capital, another 60 km away, for further distribution and working. The scale of production at Itziparatzico indicates that copper smelting was done by part-time specialists embedded in a predominantly agricultural economy, and formed part of a centrally organized network of mining, smelting and processing of copper to supply the Tarascan state. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Type: Article
Title: Early copper smelting at Itziparatzico, Mexico
DOI: 10.1016/j.jas.2009.05.019
Keywords: Tarascan, Copper smelting, Mexico, Yield, Postclassical, Mesoamerica, METALLURGY, MICHOACAN
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/93666
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