Archaeometallurgical studies about objects of Falda del Cerro site (Catamarca, Argentina)
ABSTRACT Falda del Cerro is an archaeological site located on the western slope of the Aconquija Mountains (Catamarca, Argentina) . Its human occupation is radiocarbonically dated to the first centuries AD . The site presents circular and semi-circular enclosures constructed with stone walls which foundations are dug into the bedrock. Associated pottery belongs to the period’s distinctive styles: Alpatauca, Gris Pulido, Ante Pulido, Condorhuasi, etc. Surface assemblage and excavated contexts in the area evinced pottery fragments with vitrification evidence on them, mineral remains (probably used as raw material), slag and metal objects . Such evidence led us to suppose that activities related to metallurgic production took place in Falda del Cerro. The present paper is focused on six metal objects found in the site. Our aim is to characterize these objects in order to determine chemical similarities or differences between them. Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDAX) analyses were made in order to chemically characterize the sample. The obtained data will allow us to identify the existence of metallic production in the studied area. This preliminary study initiates the research about chaîne opératoire of metallurgical production on the southern Calchaquí valleys during the first millennium A.D. Future investigations will aim to produce the analysis of mineral remains found in the site and to explore the potential sources of raw material.