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U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2004-1024

Mineral, Energy, and Fertilizer Resources of the North Coast of Perú: Perspective from the Santa Rita B Archaeological Site

By William E. Brooks, Jonathan D. Kent, and Jason C. Willett

Photograph of caballitos, or reed fishing boats, in use at Huanchaco beach

Caballitos, or reed fishing boats, in use at Huanchaco beach
  The Santa Rita B archaeological site is in the Chao Valley, approximately 65 km southeast of Trujillo, northern Perú. The location of Santa Rita B at the emergence of several drainages from the Andean cordillera is an important factor in the almost continuous occupation of the site over the past 3,000 years.

Mineral resources are abundant throughout the Andes; however, the north coast of Perú was an important center for pre-Columbian mining, metallurgy, and craftsmanship. Success of the Chavin, Moche, Chimu, and other north coast cultures is directly related to the availability and exploitation of mineral and energy resources that include: gold (plus or minus silver), as electrum, mainly from placers, and copper from local oxide and carbonate occurrences and from sulfides related to copper porphyry occurrences in the cordillera. An alloy of these three metals is referred to as tumbaga, which is the primary material for Andean metalcraft.


U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
For more information, contact William E. Brooks
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