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date: 18 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article attempts to link multiple lines of evidence to produce as complete a picture as possible of the chaîne opératoire of prehispanic metal production in Mesoamerica. It discusses the development of mining and metallurgy, mineral resources and mining, the prehispanic copper-smelting process, and alloy technology and the fabrication of artifacts. The technological choices made throughout metallurgical production reflect economic and environmental factors, dimensions of the social sphere, and the values and ideologies embedded in the culture in which they are made. Metal production involved social groups of various sizes. Producers also interacted with those who acquired and used their products (i.e., elite patrons). The nature of these interrelationships may have also varied over time and place.

Keywords: Mesoamerica, metallurgy, prehispanic metal production, mining, copper smelting, alloy technology

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