The Huarhua Rock Salt Mine: Archaeological Implications of Modern Extraction Practices

  • Justin Jennings
  • Félix Palacios
  • Nicholas Tripcevich
  • Willy Yépez Álvarez
Part of the Interdisciplinary Contributions to Archaeology book series (IDCA)


This chapter uses data on recent rock salt mining in the Cotahuasi Valley of southern Peru to provide some preliminary insights into how rock salt could have been managed and controlled in earlier periods. Until a few years ago, the mine was worked by a collective of miners. Members of this collective and their family members had rights to a particular part of the mine and each group worked the mine with very little hierarchical control. The exploitation of the Cotahuasi source is reminiscent of how other salt sources have long been exploited in the Andes. Salt was considered an open access resource that was not owned by the state of surrounding communities. The infrastructural investments like pans or mines that were often needed to get the salt, however, were privately controlled.


Rock Salt Private Ownership Salt Dome Salt Production Spanish Conquest 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors would like to thank Fidel Cruz Anco, Virginia Gutiérrez, Tadeo Ancco, Catalina Borda, Edison Mendoza Martínez, Cheyla Samuelson, and Amelia Argüelles Talavera. Support was provided by the Heinz Grant for Latin American Archaeology and the National Science Foundation (Award # 9903508 and # 0630081). Permission to work in the valley was granted by the Peruvian National Institute of Culture (Permits 977/INC and 828/INC).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Justin Jennings
    • 1
  • Félix Palacios
    • 2
  • Nicholas Tripcevich
    • 3
  • Willy Yépez Álvarez
    • 4
  1. 1.Royal Ontario MuseumTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Universidad Nacional de San AgustínArequipaPeru
  3. 3.University of California-BerkeleyBerkeleyUSA
  4. 4.Proyecto Arqueológico La RealArequipaPerú

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