Variability in Sican copper alloy artifacts: Its relation to material flow patterns during the Middle Sican Period in Peru, AD 900-1100
AdvisorDavenport, William G.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe Middle Sican culture, centered in the Lambayeque region on the north coast of Peru, began successful, intensive production of arsenical copper starting around AD 900. The excavation and analysis of Middle Sican burials has revealed that artifacts made of copper-arsenic alloys played an important role in mortuary practices and ritual activities. Copper-arsenic alloy artifacts were accessible to a relatively wide cross-section of the population, though in different amounts and forms. So-called grouped artifacts, for example, have primarily been recovered from elite graves and ritual contexts. Such grouped artifacts occurred in hoards and were organized into groups by wrapping with spun yarn, vegetable fibers, and textiles. This dissertation documents the patterning of compositional and morphological variation among three types of grouped copper artifacts and builds connections between the observed patterning and material flow during production and distribution in order to explore relations among producers and consumers. Morphological homogeneity is explored in relation to the methods of manufacture involved in the production of different types of grouped artifacts as well as the number of production units whose output was pooled to form a cache. Compositional standardization is addressed in relation to the mass of an individual object as well as material flow between smelting and smithing stages of the metallurgical chaine operatoire. Hypotheses are anchored in research on the production organization of other Middle Sican crafts as well as literature discussing connections between artifact variability and production organization.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Materials Science and Engineering