, Volume 22, Issue 3, pp 185-212
Date: 31 Oct 2009

West Mexican Metallurgy: Revisited and Revised

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Mesoamerican metallurgy furnishes an intellectual challenge in the development of world metallurgies: the evidence indicates that it was introduced from outside after state level societies had been flourishing in many areas. Two questions thus emerge: one concerns its origins, the second concerns what peoples did with this entirely new, unknown material. The evidence thus far indicates that metalworking knowledge and techniques were introduced from northern South America, which focused on lost-wax casting, as well as from the central Andes, where cold work from an initial cast blank was a predominant feature of that technology. Here I summarize what we know to date about the tradition that developed in the west, including some very new on-going research.