Mining, Extractive Metallurgy and Imperialism in the Inka Empire

Author(s): Colleen Zori

Year: 2018


The Inka empire directed significant resources and labor towards the extraction of metals from the provinces. Using the examples of Porco (silver), Viña del Cerro (copper) and the Tarapacá Valley (copper and silver), this poster explores Inka strategies for obtaining metallurgical wealth. These case studies show that, as suggested by ethnohistoric sources, large-scale silver extraction was directly overseen by the state. In contrast to models of more indirect state involvement typically proposed for copper production, these case studies demonstrate that the Inka actively invested in expanding production of this metal, despite the fact that it was not destined for use in the imperial heartland. I propose several ways that the production of silver and copper—both the sequence of activities and interactions implicated in its manufacture and the metals themselves—enmeshed local people in the relationships of hierarchy, obligation, and reciprocity that constituted them as subjects of the Inka empire.

Cite this Record

Mining, Extractive Metallurgy and Imperialism in the Inka Empire. Colleen Zori. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 443853)

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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): 18825