Large-Scale Craft Production and the Andean Religious Center: A Reconsideration

Author(s): Izumi Shimada; Amy Szumilewicz

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "SAA 2019: General Sessions" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Our conventional conception of the prehispanic Andean religious or ceremonial center emphasizes a limited range of sacred, ritual activities, intermittent public gatherings, a relatively small resident population, and perhaps small-scale production of craft items for offerings. At the Middle Sicán (900-1100 CE) religious center of Sicán, however, the large central plaza was not only surrounded by a dozen monumental and minor platform mounds, but also at least two major metal workshops and a large food preparation area. One of the workshops we excavated in 2014 and 2018 measured at least m 20 m E-W and 25 m N-S, had three superimposed floors, food residues, and numerous burnt features including a series of large (over 1 m across), adobe-lined, open furnaces that remind us of the well-known Moche sculptural representation of at least four metalworkers surrounding a furnace. These features suggest a highly intense and permanent precious metal working involving well over a dozen artisans with a reliable support system, particularly high-quality charcoal fuel and food. Overall, the impressive scale and intensity of metalworking along with these factors force us to reconsider the significance of the Andean religious center.

Cite this Record

Large-Scale Craft Production and the Andean Religious Center: A Reconsideration. Izumi Shimada, Amy Szumilewicz. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 450228)

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): 23730