Life in a Colonial Mining Camp: Reconstructing Power and Identity in a Colonial Context (Puno, Peru)

Author(s): Sarah Kennedy

Year: 2018


Mineral mining was a critical driver of the Peruvian economy during the early colonial period (AD 1550 – 1700). Peru's mineral wealth was used to fund the Spanish empire's geopolitical domination, often at the expense of indigenous Peruvians. Many were forced to labor in distant mines and work camps, decimating local communities. The south-central highlands of Peru were an especially rich area for mineral exploitation and mines, work camps, and processing mills have been identified throughout the Northern Lake Titicaca Basin. Despite being a major center for colonial mining, no archaeological research to date has been conducted in the region. This poster presents preliminary mapping and surface survey data from multiple colonial silver processing sites (often called ingenios or trapiches) located 10 km southwest of Puno. These sites exhibit a variety of indigenous and Spanish architectural forms and spatial patterns. Spatial analysis techniques are applied to compare the spatial layout of domestic buildings, work zones, and communal areas at each site, noting differential levels of accessibility and visibility. Analysis reveals how social inequality, restricted and controlled access, and difficult living conditions were part of everyday social life for indigenous miners and laborers at these sites.

Cite this Record

Life in a Colonial Mining Camp: Reconstructing Power and Identity in a Colonial Context (Puno, Peru). Sarah Kennedy. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 442670)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -82.441; min lat: -56.17 ; max long: -64.863; max lat: 16.636 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 20432