The Diversity of Mining Infrastructure and Organization in the Southern Provinces of the Inca Empire

Author(s): Francisco Garrido; Diego Salazar

Year: 2018


Despite the importance of mineral and metal production for the Inca's political economy in the Collasuyu, mining infrastructure during this period encompasses a range across scale, spatial structure and labor organization. This diversity reflects both the variability of Inca state interventions and independent enterprises working outside of the imperial political economy. Generally, state mining is evidenced by Inca-style architecture, including formal public spaces or plazas; social-aggregation practices for political ends; Inca-sponsored productive rituals; a functional differentiation in the spatial organization of the campsite (which also reflects social differences within the mining community); a focus on ore extraction rather than multicrafting; and a state-sponsored nonlocal provisioning of agricultural produce.

Yet simultaneously and intriguingly, some sites do not fit these parameters, and maintain a continuity with previous forms of mining exploitation. In some cases, such sites of typically small-scale mining represent the prevalence of local groups of aspiring elites that required a constant supply of sumptuary goods for their social differentiation. Thus, this presentation argues that these different mining modes represent the diversity of economic conditions during the Late Horizon in the distant provinces of the Inca empire.

Cite this Record

The Diversity of Mining Infrastructure and Organization in the Southern Provinces of the Inca Empire. Francisco Garrido, Diego Salazar. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 443852)

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Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 21705