A MAJOR PREHISPANIC COPPER PRODUCTION CENTER IDENTIFIED AT COLLAHUASI, SOUTHERN TARAPACÁ ALTIPLANO (CHILE)
UN GRAN CENTRO PREHISPÁNICO DE PRODUCCIÓN DE COBRE IDENTIFICADO EN COLLAHUASI, ALTIPLANO SUR DE TARAPACÁ (CHILE)
Valentina Figueroa, Benoît Mille, Diego Salazar, José Berenguer, Andrew Menzies, Pía Sapiains, Ariadna Cifuentes and Delphine Joly
This work presents the results of a study of mining-metallurgical production in late pre-Hispanic times in the Collahuasi Mining District (Northern Chile), specifically examining the technology employed and changes in the scale of production. We focus on recent results obtained in a study of 50 pyrometallurgical furnaces identified at the Ujina 8 and Ujina 10 archaeological sites and their relation to Collahuasi 37, the metallurgical camp located in very close vicinity. This makes Ujina 8, Ujina 10, and Collahuasi 37 the largest pre-Hispanic copper production center in Northern Chile. Metallurgical and mineral evidences recovered from these sites were subjected to archaeometric analyses in order to determine the nature of the smelted ore, the complexity of the metallurgical processes used, and the composition of the copper metal produced.
The technology and organization of pre-Hispanic copper production observed at Collahuasi will be discussed in the context of pre-Inca and Inca mining-metallurgical systems already identified in northern Chile, especially in regard to the smelting technique and scale of production.