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Documenting the History of Inca Precious Metal Production using Geochemical Techniques from Lake Sediments in the Andahuaylas Region of Peru

Kane, Molly Mae (2011) Documenting the History of Inca Precious Metal Production using Geochemical Techniques from Lake Sediments in the Andahuaylas Region of Peru. Undergraduate Thesis, University of Pittsburgh.

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    Abstract

    The process of studying heavy metal concentrations in lake sediments in order to reconstruct pollution history has been used in a variety of environments and locations. Laguna Pacucha is one in a series of metal pollution studies from Peru and Bolivia, an area with a rich history of metallurgy. Laguna Pacucha lies in the Andahuaylas region of Peru, 145 km west of Cuzco, the Inca capital, and 20 km west of Curamba, a presumed ancient smelting site. The sediment record of Laguna Pacucha reveals a metal record that dates beyond 1225 AD. A major density change ~1225 AD, concurrent with a known period of drought, inhibits the possibility of a reliable age model below this point. Increases in Zn, As, and Cu after ~1225 AD could be indicative of local copper smelting, which supports separate evidence of the Curamba archeological site (near Laguna Pacucha) as a potential copper smelting site. These concentrations drop around the time of the Spanish conquest, and then the concentrations of a number of different metals increase after ~1600 and decrease by ~1850 AD, which could indicate smelting, but more likely indicates a change in land use. Our results provide a complex record of a changing Andean environment, and indicate a need for further study in the Andahuaylas region.


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    Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
    ETD Committee:
    ETD Committee TypeCommittee MemberEmailORCID
    Committee ChairAbbott, Markmabbott1@pitt.edu
    Committee MemberJones, Charlescejones@pitt.edu
    Committee MemberCooke, Colincolin.cooke@yale.edu
    Committee MemberCollins, Markmookie@pitt.edu
    Title: Documenting the History of Inca Precious Metal Production using Geochemical Techniques from Lake Sediments in the Andahuaylas Region of Peru
    Status: Unpublished
    Abstract: The process of studying heavy metal concentrations in lake sediments in order to reconstruct pollution history has been used in a variety of environments and locations. Laguna Pacucha is one in a series of metal pollution studies from Peru and Bolivia, an area with a rich history of metallurgy. Laguna Pacucha lies in the Andahuaylas region of Peru, 145 km west of Cuzco, the Inca capital, and 20 km west of Curamba, a presumed ancient smelting site. The sediment record of Laguna Pacucha reveals a metal record that dates beyond 1225 AD. A major density change ~1225 AD, concurrent with a known period of drought, inhibits the possibility of a reliable age model below this point. Increases in Zn, As, and Cu after ~1225 AD could be indicative of local copper smelting, which supports separate evidence of the Curamba archeological site (near Laguna Pacucha) as a potential copper smelting site. These concentrations drop around the time of the Spanish conquest, and then the concentrations of a number of different metals increase after ~1600 and decrease by ~1850 AD, which could indicate smelting, but more likely indicates a change in land use. Our results provide a complex record of a changing Andean environment, and indicate a need for further study in the Andahuaylas region.
    Date: 03 June 2011
    Date Type: Completion
    Defense Date: 30 March 2011
    Approval Date: 03 June 2011
    Submission Date: 20 April 2011
    Access Restriction: No restriction; The work is available for access worldwide immediately.
    Patent pending: No
    Institution: University of Pittsburgh
    Thesis Type: Undergraduate Thesis
    Refereed: Yes
    Degree: BPhil - Bachelor of Philosophy
    URN: etd-04202011-163303
    Uncontrolled Keywords: Atmospheric metal deposition; geoarchaeology; metallurgy; Pb; Peru; smelting
    Schools and Programs: University Honors College
    Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 14:39
    Last Modified: 23 May 2012 15:57
    Other ID: http://etd.library.pitt.edu/ETD/available/etd-04202011-163303/, etd-04202011-163303

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