Proyecto Arqueológico Porco-Potosí
Site Description: Cruz Pampa




Cruz Pampa looking north.

Cruz Pampa is located at the foot of Cerro Huayna Porco, to the southwest and just above the modern village of Porco. A small ravine divides the site into two, with five or six single-room, rectangular structures on either side. Two recently opened mines are located higher in the ravine, approximately 50 m to the southeast, and the remains of huayrachinas are scattered on the top of the ridge immediately to the west of the site. Limited excavations in 2002 indicate that the buildings include domestic structures, some of which were rehabilitated after the colonial period, in addition to crudely made buildings used for the production of metal. However, the original plan of the site is not clear as it is currently used for corralling animals and for small agricultural plots.

Furnace uncovered in Trench CP-2.

Two notable features were encountered in test excavations placed outside structures. The first, located in trench CP2, was a European style furnace that, in some respects, resembled the reverberatory furnace used for smelting silver ores illustrated in Chapter Five of Alvaro Alonso Barba’s 1640 book El Arte de los Metales. The second, uncovered in trench CP3, consisted of fragments from two large vessels as well as a complete bowl that were nested together and in which were found organic material, juvenile human teeth, and two small copper tupu pins, which, taken together, suggest the burial of an indigenous girl. The presence of a few Spanish olive jar fragments within the burial indicate that the interment dates to the early colonial period.

Early colonial brimmed plate made using indigenous technology.

The very high density of provincial Inka ceramics at Cruz Pampa as well as the occurrence of basal deposits in two trenches that lack European items, suggest that the site was originally constructed by the Inkas, perhaps to house miners, although it was re-used during the Colonial Period.


Funding for this project provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation, the Curtiss T. Brennan and Mary G. Brennan Foundation, and Colorado State University.

Please direct any comments or questions about the project to the director, Mary Van Buren.

Web site designed by Andrew Mueller