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

  • 27 Sep 2018
  • 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM
  • Penn Museum, Classroom 2

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. 

Free admission. Brown bag lecture-- please bring a lunch! 

More information here.

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