Tarascan Copper Metallurgy: A Multiapproach Perspective [Paperback]

Blanca Estela Maldonado(Author)

ISBN: 9781784916251 | Published by: Archaeopress Archaeology | Series: Archaeopress Pre-Columbian Archaeology | Volume: 10 | Year of Publication: 2019 | 156p, H11.5 x W8, Illustrated throughout in color and black & white
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Tarascan Copper Metallurgy: A Multiapproach Perspective


In the early sixteenth century much of West México was under the rule of the Purhépecha Empire, known to Europeans as the Tarascan Kingdom of Michuacan. Both archaeological and ethnohistorical evidence indicate that during the Late Postclassic Period (A.D. 1350-1525) this political unit was the primary center for metallurgy and metalworking in Mesoamerica. This technology was largely based on copper and its alloys. 'Tarascan Copper Metallurgy: A multiapproach perspective' focuses on evidence recovered from the area surrounding Santa Clara del Cobre, a Tarascan community in Central Michoacán. This pioneer research required the employment of multiple strands of evidence, including archaeological survey and excavation, ethnoarchaeology, experimental replication, and archaeometallurgy. Intensive surface survey located concentrations of manufacturing byproducts (i.e. slag) on surface that represented potential production areas. Stratigraphic excavation and subsequent archaeometallurgical analysis of physical remains were combined with ethnohistorical and ethnoarchaeological data, as well as comparative analogy, to propose a model for prehispanic copper production among the Tarascans. The goal of this analysis was to gain insights into the nature of metal production and its role in the major state apparatus. The study provides valuable insights into the development of technology and political economy in ancient Mesoamerica and offers a contribution to general anthropological theories of the emergence of social complexity.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1 Introduction

Chapter 2 Approaches to the study of technology and craft production

Chapter 3 Synopsis of preindustrial metallurgy as applied to Mesoamerica

Chapter 4 Tarascan copper smelting at the zone of Itziparátzico: a case study

Chapter 5 Models of technological organization

Chapter 6 Conclusions, remarks and suggestions for future research


Appendix A IARP 2003-4: survey data

Appendix B IARP 2003-4: Test pitting data

Appendix C Slag analyses

Appendix D The rise of the theory of technology

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