Sican metallurgy and its cross-craft relationships




Figure 3. Reconstruction drawing of the Huaca Loro truncated pyramid with locations of the East and West tombs, Drawing by I. Shimada.

Abstract: Metal artifacts are studied most commonly in isolation from other craft goods. Holistic examination of grave goods from three Middle Sicán elite shafttombs recently excavated at the site of Sicán on the northern coast of Peru shows that the production of precious metal items is best understood as one component of an integrated, sumptuary goods production system that also included pottery making, lapidary and weaving. This paper illustrates how these different crafts were closely intertwined from design and manufacture to use of products and that current approaches to ancient crafts that focus on a single medium do not properly illuminate such relationships. Additional workshop excavations and a more flexible interpretive framework are needed as well as further exploration of the conditions under which different inter- or multi-craft production takes place.

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