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Obsidian miner's structures and workshops in highland Peru: Results from research at the Quispisisa Obsidian Source

Lecture: ARF Brownbag | March 13 | 12-1 p.m. | 101 2251 College (Archaeological Research Facility)

Nicholas Tripcevich, Lab Manager, Archaeological Research Facility, UC Berkeley; Daniel A. Contreras, Post-doctoral researcher, Institute for Ecosystem Research, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel (Germany); Yuri Cavero Palomino, Facultad de Ciencias Sociales, Universidad de San Cristobal de Huamanga

Archaeological Research Facility

Obsidian from the Quispisisa source in Ayacucho, Peru was one of the most widely distributed obsidian types in the ancient Andes. This material has been found in Early Holocene sites as much as 100km from the source, and its distribution is most extensive during the Early and Middle Horizons when Quispisisa-type obsidian is found in sites 1000 km from the source area. The source was first identified by archaeologists 12 years ago but due to its remote location in the Andean highlands detailed study did not occur until 2012. This talk will discuss a field season of survey and test excavations at the obsidian source that revealed a new sector of large quarry pits and, for the first time, numerous structures associated with pits. Downstream, near the upper limits of agriculture, our survey and testing showed that production of obsidian was significantly larger in scale than previously known. This research was funded by the National Geographic Society, the Brennan Foundation, and the Stahl Fund.