Tracking the Source of Quispisisa Type Obsidian from Huancavelica to Ayacucho

  • Richard L. Burger
  • Michael D. Glascock


As in many parts of the world, the prehistoric peoples of the Central Andes sought out volcanic glass as a preferred material for lithic artifacts. Their taste for fine chipping material led obsidian to be exchanged over a vast area of the highlands and adjacent coast for over ten thousand years. Despite its rarity, artifacts made of obsidian have been recovered in many of the oldest known sites in both the coast and highlands of Peru (Burger and Asaro 1978; MacNeish et al. 1981; Sandweiss et al. 1998). In what is now central and northern Peru, a single chemical type of obsidian known as Quispisisa was the main type of obsidian utilized throughout the prehistoric sequence (Burger and Asaro 1977). The geologic source of Quispisisa type obsidian was located near Hatunrangra in 1999. This discovery was the culmination of a search which led from the San Genaro region of Huancavelica to the Huanca Sancos region of Ayacucho. This paper offers an account of the history of this find as well as offering a preliminary description of the source area and a discussion of the implications of its location.


Source Area Lava Flow Volcanic Glass Archaeological Research Source Sample 
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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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard L. Burger
  • Michael D. Glascock

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