The metallurgic furnaces at the Curamba Inca site (Peru): a study by Mössbauer spectroscopy and X-ray diffractometry
The Inca site at Curamba is located in the Province of Apurimac in the southern highlands of Peru where, according to some historians, several thousand furnaces used for ore smelting were found. For this work, four samples of burned soil were gathered from these furnaces and classified as Curamba1, Curamba2, Curamba3, and Curamba4, and studied using transmission Mössbauer spectroscopy (TMS) and X-ray diffractometry (XRD). The mineralogical composition of the samples was determined by XRD and the structural sites in the minerals occupied by iron cations were characterized by TMS. Moreover, an attempt was made to determine the maximum temperature reached in these furnaces using the refiring technique of the samples in an oxidizing environment and monitoring the structural modifications at the iron sites by changes in the Mössbauer hyperfine parameters. The TMS results of Curamba2 show that the maximum temperature reached in this furnace was about 900°C, in agreement with the mineralogical composition found by XRD. In the case of Curamba1 and Curamba4 the maximum temperature estimated was about 400°C.
KeywordsFurnaces Smelting Refiring Oxidizing environment Mössbauer spectroscopy X-ray diffractometry
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