, Volume 59, Issue 12, pp 16–20 | Cite as

Hematite mining in the ancient Americas: Mina Primavera, A 2,000 year old Peruvian mine

  • Kevin J. VaughnEmail author
  • Moises Linares Grados
  • Jelmer W. Eerkens
  • Matthew J. Edwards
Feature Archaeotechnology


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 the ancient Americas, few hematite mines have been reported in the New World literature and none have been reported for the Central Andes. An estimated 3,710 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 a pigment for painting pottery, and the mine demonstrates that iron ores were extracted extensively at an early date in the Americas.


Hematite Peru Cinnabar Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Pottery Production 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© TMS 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kevin J. Vaughn
    • 1
    Email author
  • Moises Linares Grados
    • 2
  • Jelmer W. Eerkens
    • 3
  • Matthew J. Edwards
    • 4
  1. 1.the Department of Sociology and AnthropologyPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA
  2. 2.Proyecto Nasca TempranoLimaPeru
  3. 3.the Department of AnthropologyUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA
  4. 4.the Department of AnthropologyUniversity of CaliforniaSanta BarbaraUSA

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