Over the last decade, the Proyecto Arqueológico Porco-Potosí has investigated the Bolivian mining center of Porco in order to examine silver production under the Inka, Spanish, and Republican regimes. One focus of this research is the ways in which metallurgy was shaped by Porco's incorporation into the colonial world. After 1572, mercury amalgamation was the dominant method for refining silver ores, but at Porco, smelting technologies continued in use and were particularly varied. This paper represents a first step towards understanding this variability. It examines two technologies, native huayrachinas and European reverberatory furnaces, in order to determine how they functioned and were modified over time. We address this issue by describing their disposition within the archaeological record, assessing their use through slag analysis, and finally examining their historical development.
Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino
Boletín del Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino v.15 n.2 2010
TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGES IN SILVER PRODUCTION AFTER THE SPANISH CONQUEST IN PORCO, BOLIVIA