|Posted on December 30, 2020 at 8:25 AM|
Hematite Mining in the Ancient Americas: Mina Primavera, A 2,000-Year-Old Peruvian Mine
Kevin J. Vaughn, Moises Linares Grados, Jelmer W. Eerkens and Matthew J. Edwards
Mina Primavera, a hematite (Fe2O3) mine located in southern Peru, was exploited beginning approximately 2,000 years ago by two Andean civilizations, the Nasca and Wari. Despite the importance of hematite in the material culture of ancient Americas, few hematite mines have been reported in the New World literature and none have been reported for the Central Andes. An estimated 3,170 tonnes of hematite were extracted from the mine for over 1,400 years at an average rate of 2.65 tonnes per year, suggesting regular and extensive mining prior to Spanish conquest. The hematite was likely used as pigment for painting pottery, and the mine demonstrates that iron ores were extracted extensively at an early date in the Americas.
"Iron mining in the Old World, specifically in Africa, goes back 40,000 years.
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