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vol.45 issue1PREHISTORIC METAL MINING IN BRITAIN: THE STUDY OF COBBLE STONE MINING TOOLS BASED ON ARTEFACT STUDY, ETHNOGRAPHY AND EXPERIMENTATIONINKA MINING AND METALLURGICAL LANDSCAPES IN ATACAMA AND SOUTHERN TARAPACA ALTIPLANO (NORTHERN CHILE) author indexsubject indexarticles search
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Chungará (Arica)

On-line version ISSN 0717-7356

Abstract

FIGUEROA, Valentina et al. PRE-HISPANIC MINING ERGOLOGY OF NORTHERN CHILE: AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE. Chungará (Arica) [online]. 2013, vol.45, n.1, pp.61-81. ISSN 0717-7356.  http://dx.doi.org/10.4067/S0717-73562013000100003.

Mines, spoils, retention walls and pads are the most common material remains of pre-Hispanic mining activity studied by archaeologists. In this paper we will focus on yet another category, the mining ergology, defined as the material artefacts associated with day to day mining activities. Mining ergology seeks to document the technological equipment of the pre-Hispanic miner, which is seldom found in archaeological contexts due to poor preservation of organic materials. The arid conditions of the Atacama desert offer unique conservation possibilities which have shown a varied mining ergology that includes hafted stone hammers bound to wooden handles with rawhide and wool, lithic hammer heads, lithic and wooden shovels, baskets and capachos (rawhide sacks). The study of these components complements our knowledge of pre-Hispanic mining technologies and increases our understanding of the organization of mining operations, the diachrony of mining activity, the variability and continuity of the material record, and therefore of mining and its development in the Andes in general.

Keywords : Pre-Hispanic mining; Atacama Desert; ergology; copper.

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