Early Central Andean Metalworking from Mina Perdida, Peru

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Science  06 Nov 1998:
Vol. 282, Issue 5391, pp. 1108-1111
DOI: 10.1126/science.282.5391.1108

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Copper and gold artifacts in contexts dated to ∼3120 to 3020 carbon-14 years before the present (∼1410 to 1090 calendar years B.C.) recovered in excavations at Mina Perdida, Lurı́n Valley, Peru, show that artisans hammered native metals into thin foils, in some cases with intermediate anneals. They gilded copper artifacts by attaching gold foil. The artifacts show that fundamental elements of the Andean metallurgical tradition were developed before the Chavı́n horizon, and that on the Peruvian coast the working of native copper preceded the production of smelted copper objects.

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