GSA home

Log In | GSA Community | GSA Store | Join GSA | Donate | Contact Us

GSA home

| GSA Community | GSA Store | Donate | Contact Us

About GSA

Career Resources

Connected Community

Divisions &
Associated Societies

Education & Outreach

GSA Foundation

GSA International




Public Policy



Find Your Science at GSA
14 April 2010
GSA Release No.10-18
Christa Stratton
Director of Education, Communication, & Outreach
Bookmark and Share

New Translation Reveals Ancient Metals and Minerals

Boulder, CO, USA - In 2009, Perú was the world's leading producer of silver, the second leading producer of copper, and the leading producer of gold in Latin America. But this isn't something new. Perú's leadership in mining and metallurgy extends for centuries into the past. This Special Paper from The Geological Society of America documents the use in ancient Perú of minerals, metals, and mineral resources for pigments, industrial stone, aesthetics, and art.

The GSA volume is a translation of a 1970 publication by the Instituto de Investigaciones Antropológicas, in Lima, Perú, written by Georg Petersen. Translator William E. Brooks notes that many of the ancient Andean mining and metallurgical techniques described in this book precede those known in Europe.

The volume also provides forward-thinking analytical data on metals, artifacts, and alloys. A detailed pyrite mirror, featured on book’s cover, symbolizes the spectacular workmanship and blending of utilitarian craft and mineral resources in ancient Perú.

Chapters cover minerals, gems, and pigments; ornamental and industrial stone; specific occurrences of gold, silver, copper, iron, mercury, tin, lead, and platinum in Perú, Bolivia, and Colombia; gold, silver, copper, and mercury metallurgy; Inca mining from 1533 to 1534 in the Altiplano, as documented by the Spanish explorers; and even a forensic description of the Chuquicamata Mummy, the remains of an ancient copper miner killed during an earthquake.

Individual copies of the volume may be purchased through the Geological Society of America online store,, or by contacting GSA Sales and Service, .

Book editors of earth science journals/publications may request a review copy by contacting Jeanette Hammann, .

Mining and Metallurgy in Ancient Perú
by Georg Petersen G., translated by William E. Brooks
Geological Society of America Special Paper 467
SPE467, 90 p., $40.00, GSA Member price $28.00
ISBN 978-0-8137-2467-6