Paper No. 1
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM


BROOKS, William E.1, CADENA, Angela M.2 and BERMUDEZ, Mario2, (1)Geologist, Reston, VA 20191, (2)Antropologia, Univ. de Caldas, Calle 26, Manizales, 21303, Colombia,

The Rio Cauca, Colombia, alluvial environment provided gold (±silver) that was used for pre-Columbian metalcraft as well as fine-grained sedimentary material for fabrication of ceramics. As a part of geoarchaeological studies of mineral resources, cinnabar use, and ancient mining in this important region, three dark-red ceramic fragments from the Marmato-Caldas archaeological site, Middle Cauca, were submitted for Inductively Coupled Plasma (ICP) analysis and indicate: 2-8 ppm Ag; 91-367 ppm Au; 1 ppm Hg; 9-73 ppm Pt; and 10-47 ppm Ni; 11-60 ppm Pb; and one sample contained 34800 ppm Cu.

The Middle Cauca Region is a north-south zone that takes its name from the Rio Cauca and extends from Ibague, Dept. Tolima, in the south, through Dept. Caldas, northward towards Medellin, Dept. Antioquia, Colombia. This region is being explored for porphyry gold and gold-copper deposits and hosts La Colosa, a recent discovery that is estimated to contain 12.3 Moz of gold. Marmato, also in the Middle Cauca, produced alluvial gold before the arrival of the Europeans and now produces gold-silver from pyrite veins in a Miocene stock that may contain 6.6 Moz of gold.

To the best of our knowledge, this is the first attempt to define and link the metal content of ancient Colombian ceramics to the mineral occurrences in the region.