Multilayered artifacts in the pre-Columbian metallurgy from the North of Peru

Roberto Cesareo, Angel D. Bustamante, Julio S. Fabian, Sandra Del Pilar Zambrano, Walter Alva, Luis Z. Chero, Maria C. Del Carmen Espinoza, Rosendo R. Rodriguez, Marco F. Seclen, Fidel V. Gutierrez, Edgard B. Levano, Juan A. Gonzales, Marcia A. Rizzutto, Enrico Poli, Cristiane Calza, Marcelino Dos Anjos, Renato Pereira De Freitas, Ricardo T. Lopes, Carlos Elera, Izumi ShimadaVictor Curay, Maria G. Castillo, Giovanni E. Gigante, Gabriel M. Ingo, Fabio Lopes, Ulla Holmquist, David Diestra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Three types of alloys were recognized when analyzing pre-Columbian artifacts from the North of Peru: gold, silver, and copper alloys; gilded copper and silver; silvered copper; tumbaga, i.e., copper or silver enriched on gold at the surface by depletion gilding. In this paper, a method is described to differentiate gold alloys from gilded copper and from copper-gold tumbaga, and silver alloys from silvered copper and copper-silver tumbaga. This method is based on the use of energy-dispersive X-ray fluorescence, i.e., on a sophisticated analysis of XRF-spectra carrying out an accurate determination of Cu(K α /K β ), Ag(K α /K β ), Au(L α /L β ), and Au-L α /Cu-K α or Ag-K α /Cu-K α ratios. That implies a dedicated software for the quantitative determination of the area of X-ray peaks. This method was first checked by a relevant number of standard samples and then it was applied to pre-Columbian alloys from the North of Peru.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)889-903
Number of pages15
JournalApplied Physics A: Materials Science and Processing
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
F. Lopes acknowledges CAPES for a 7 months grant at the University of Sassari.

Funding Information:
This work was partially supported by a bilateral project between the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche and Consejo Nacional de Ciencia, Tecnologia e Innovacion Tecnologica of Perù (CNR-CONCYTEC, 2009–2011 and 2012–2014).


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