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Public Lecture Series with Joel Grossman

The Discovery of Ancient Metallurgy (Gold and Bronze) in the South-central Andes of Peru

This lecture is a unique look at expeditions into the south-central Andes directed by Dr. Joel W. Grossman. First, the lecture will focus on the discovery and trail of evidence concerning the origins and antiquity of early gold working from the site of Waywaka, in the south-central highlands of Andahuaylas, Apurimac, Peru. Second, the age and makeup of later, but until now poorly dated and understood, bronze artifacts from the same site will also be presented. Excavations at the mountain-top settlement revealed a naturally stratified series of Pre-Inca cultures spanning thirty-five centuries.

This last year, a series of eight high-resolution AMS radiocarbon dates (+/- 15 in 3000 years) this year establish new age benchmarks for both technologies. In the bottom-most layers was evidence of early pottery making and gold working, which included an actual gold worker's tool kit, dating to ca 17th century BC. Higher in the stratified sequence, the excavation revealed a succeeding culture which produced a range of small utilitarian bronze artifacts, artifacts that can now be dated to the seventh century AD, early for this technology.

Dr. Grossman will preface his presentation of these discoveries with a slide-based tour of the fifteen month-long high altitude expedition, including some of the challenges he had to overcome, and indigenous people he had the honor of working with.

Dr. Joel W. Grossman is a senior archaeologist specializing in the archaeology of North and South America who has lead over 30 large scale excavations in both regions. Dr. Grossman received his Ph.D. as a Fulbright/Special Career Fellow, in Peruvian and North American archaeology from the University of California, Berkeley. His scientific accomplishments include major prehistoric and historic discoveries throughout North America, the Andes of Peru, the Brazilian Amazon and Caribbean. In addition to his regional focus on Peruvian and North American archaeology, Dr. Grossman has gained world-wide recognition for his work in advanced applied technology in archaeology.

In Peru, after leading a joint US-Peruvian expedition to find and record an ancient mummy bundle in the southern Andes, his fifteen-month-long field effort, mostly on horseback at 11,000 to 15,000 feet, lead to the discovery of a buried 35 century sequence of Pre-Inca ceramic cultures. That discovery, in turn, revealed archaeological evidence of early pottery making and early gold working dating the 17th century cal BC, one of the highlights of this lecture. In addition, the site also revealed early bronze production which has provided new insight into the antiquity of this technology in highland Peru.

Dr. Grossman has served as a scientific advisor to U.S. and international agencies, including as a UNESCO scientist to the Peruvian Institute of Culture, and policy advisor to the U.S. Congress Office of Technology Assessment. He has been invited to speak before the United Nations, the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and the Russian Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, as well as various high caliber venues within the United States.

Date: May 8, 2017

Time: 6:00 pm Reception, 7:00 pm Lecture

Location: Club Headquarters, 46 E 70th Street, New York, NY, 10021

Member Ticket Price: $10

Guest Ticket Price: $25

Student Ticket Price:

$5 with a valid academic ID

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