SMELTING AND THE SCARED AT DOS CRUCES: Technological and ritual activity at a Chimu era smelting site

Author(s): Colin Thomas

Year: 2015


In November 2013 the Las Minas Archaeometallurgical Project completed excavations at the Chimu Era copper smelting site of Dos Cruces in the Zaña valley. Dos Cruces is an artificially terraced hill located near a river and several known copper mines. The site was divided into 4 distinct sectors, each of which was put to a different use. This paper focuses on excavations and preliminary laboratory results from the industrial or smelting sector of Dos Cruces, an area filled with slag, furnaces, and other smelting remains. Large areal exposures revealed a system for producing metal significantly different to earlier smelting sites in the region including wall systems for directing wind toward furnaces and an absence of blow tubes; indicating a discontinuity in technological tradition following the Chimu occupation of the region. In addition, multiple indications of ritual activity were found including animal sacrifice, ritualized killing of furnaces, feasting and production of chicha, offerings of imported ceramics, and at least 3 episodes of site burial and rebuilding. These discoveries provide some of the first insight into the non-technical aspects of the poorly understood topic of smelting in the Andes.

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SMELTING AND THE SCARED AT DOS CRUCES: Technological and ritual activity at a Chimu era smelting site. Colin Thomas. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397598)

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Geographic Keywords
South America

Spatial Coverage

min long: -93.691; min lat: -56.945 ; max long: -31.113; max lat: 18.48 ;