University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Memory at “The Mine of Death”: Cultural Landscapes of Andean Mercury Mining

Thursday 27 September 2018
12:30PM - 1:30PM
Classroom 2 - Penn Museum

Photo of Mountianside

Dr. Douglas K. Smit, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, considers the divergent historical narratives at the Huancavelica mercury mining complex in the Peruvian Andes, at this Penn Cultural Heritage Center-sponsored lunchtime talk. For Spanish colonial administrators, Huancavelica was the “crown jewel” of the empire due to lucrative mercury mining and technological advances in metallurgy. For indigenous Andean peoples forced to labor underground, the danger of mercury poisoning became so extreme that Huancavelica became known as “the mine of death.” Drawing from archaeological fieldwork and oral histories collected since 2013, Dr. Smit explores how the people of Santa Bárbara negotiate the development of cultural heritage in their community in concert with and sometimes counter to the narratives of government officials, outside consultants, and North American archaeologists. Brown bag lunches are welcome at this free event.

Free Admission.

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