Three Gold-Bearing Prehispanic Ceramic Fragments from the Supía-Marmato Mining District, Rio Medio Cauca, Colombia


The alluvial environment of the Supía-Marmato mining district, in the Rio Medio Cauca region, Colombia, provided coarse and fine-grained gold that was used for prehispanic gold work and also fine-grained, gold-bearing sediments that were used for ceramic production. Three ceramic fragments, identified as Marrón Inciso—Quimbaya Clasico, were submitted for geochemical analysis in order to determine their elemental composition—the ICP (Inductively Coupled Plasma) data indicated: 2 - 8 ppm Ag; 91 - 367 ppm Au; 1 ppm Hg; 9 - 73 ppm Pt; 10 - 47 ppm Ni; 11 - 60 ppm Pb; and one sample contained 34,800 ppm Cu. The Rio Medio Cauca is a broad north-south zone that runs from Cauca Dept., in the south, to Medellin, Antioquia Dept., in the north. This region also hosts numerous mineral occurrences and mines such as Marmato (Au-Ag) and La Colosa (Au-Cu). We conclude that this is the first study to define and establish a link between the metal content of prehispanic ceramics and Au, Ag, Cu, and Pt occurrences in Colombia.

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Brooks, W. E., Restrepo, M. B., & Cadena, A. M. (2016) Three Gold-Bearing Prehispanic Ceramic Fragments from the Supía-Marmato Mining District, Rio Medio Cauca, Colombia. Archaeological Discovery, 4, 11-21. doi: 10.4236/ad.2016.41002.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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