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Article

Supergene Copper and the Ancient Mining Landscapes of the Atacama Desert: Refining the Protocol for the Study of Archaeological Copper Minerals through the Case Study of Pukara de Turi

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Doctorado en Ciencias mención Geología, Departamento de Ciencias Geológicas, Universidad Católica del Norte, Antofagasta 1240000, Chile
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Instituto de Investigaciones Arqueológicas y Museo (IIAM), Universidad Católica del Norte, San Pedro de Atacama 1410000, Chile
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Department of Anthropology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA
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Departamento de Antropología, Universidad de Chile, Santiago 7800284, Chile
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Bruker Nano GmbH, 12489 Berlin, Germany
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MPhil/Ph.D. Programme, Institute of Archaeology, University College London, 31-34 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PY, UK
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Instituto de Investigaciones Arqueológicas y Museo (IIAM), Universidad Católica del Norte–UMR 7055 Prehistoire et Technologie (PreTéch), Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense, 92000 Nanterre, France
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Department of Civil Engineering, Universidad Católica de la Santísima Concepción, Concepción 4090541, Chile
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Instituto de Ciencias del Patrimonio (Incipit), Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), 15705 Santiago de Compostela, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Daniel Albero Santacreu, José Cristóbal Carvajal López and Adrián Durán Benito
Minerals 2021, 11(12), 1402; https://doi.org/10.3390/min11121402
Received: 6 November 2021 / Revised: 5 December 2021 / Accepted: 8 December 2021 / Published: 11 December 2021
Northern Chile is home to the world’s largest copper ore deposits, which have been exploited for thousands of years by different groups, at varying scales and for different purposes. In this context, it is important to develop new protocols to characterise the mineralogical variability of archaeological copper ores. A comprehensive and representative methodology in the analysis of minerals, the application of non-destructive analytical techniques, and the combination of insights from geological, archaeological and local knowledge are key to developing a copper mineral repository of the Atacama Desert area. Geochemical analyses were applied to the study of 568 samples from the archaeological site Pukara de Turi, with different techniques such as micro-XRF, XRD, QEMSCAN, Raman spectroscopy and technological studies. This exhaustive analysis allowed for the recognition of two mineralogical associations: atacamite/brochantite (99%) and azurite/chrysocolla (1%). The study of various minerals allows data to be interpreted more reliably and to trace the likely geological sources of these minerals. The azurite/chrysocolla samples appear to belong to the same mineral association found in the Cerro Verde district, which is probably the source of these samples. The atacamite/brochantite samples appear to come from more than one geological source, including, but not limited to, Chuquicamata-Radomiro Tomic and El Abra-Conchi. View Full-Text
Keywords: copper minerals; micro-XRF; archaeometry copper minerals; micro-XRF; archaeometry
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MDPI and ACS Style

Sapiains, P.; Figueroa, V.; Hayashida, F.; Salazar, D.; Menzies, A.; González, C.; Loyola, R.; Murphy, B.; González, J.; Parcero-Oubiña, C.; Troncoso, A. Supergene Copper and the Ancient Mining Landscapes of the Atacama Desert: Refining the Protocol for the Study of Archaeological Copper Minerals through the Case Study of Pukara de Turi. Minerals 2021, 11, 1402. https://doi.org/10.3390/min11121402

AMA Style

Sapiains P, Figueroa V, Hayashida F, Salazar D, Menzies A, González C, Loyola R, Murphy B, González J, Parcero-Oubiña C, Troncoso A. Supergene Copper and the Ancient Mining Landscapes of the Atacama Desert: Refining the Protocol for the Study of Archaeological Copper Minerals through the Case Study of Pukara de Turi. Minerals. 2021; 11(12):1402. https://doi.org/10.3390/min11121402

Chicago/Turabian Style

Sapiains, Pía, Valentina Figueroa, Frances Hayashida, Diego Salazar, Andrew Menzies, Cristián González, Rodrigo Loyola, Beau Murphy, Juan González, César Parcero-Oubiña, and Andrés Troncoso. 2021. "Supergene Copper and the Ancient Mining Landscapes of the Atacama Desert: Refining the Protocol for the Study of Archaeological Copper Minerals through the Case Study of Pukara de Turi" Minerals 11, no. 12: 1402. https://doi.org/10.3390/min11121402

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