PAUL D STEWART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PAUL D STEWART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
South American Bronze Age objects. Collection of objects from the Bronze Age of Andean South America. The Moche culture of Peru independently discovered and developed bronze smelting in the First Millennium AD, and the technology was taken further by the Incas up to 1500 AD. At top left are three Ecuadorian votive axes, used as currency. Below these is votive decorative pectoral in the form of a jaguar-faced arrowhead. At centre is a heavy bronze axe, probably hand-held for stone masonry work. At top right is an axe for use as a weapon or for cutting wood. At bottom right is a star-shaped mace head from Andean Ecuador or Peru. The Bronze Age in South America continued up to the end of the pre-Columbian era. Iron was not smelted until the invasion of the Spanish Conquistadors, whose iron and steel weapons were superior to bronze weapons.
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