Chivay obsidian source

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The Chivay obsidian source (71.5355° S, 15.6423° W, 4972 masl) is the geological origin of a chemical group of obsidian that is found throughout the south-central Andean highlands including southern Peru and western Bolivia. Chemical characterization studies using X-ray fluorescence (XRF) and Neutron Activation Analysis (NAA) have shown that the Chivay obsidian source, also known as the Cotallalli type or the Titicaca Basin type, makes up over 90% of the obsidian artifacts analyzed from the Lake Titicaca Basin.

Obsidian from the Chivay source is found in large and homogeneous nodules in a high altitude volcanic depression approximately ten km to the east of the town of Chivay in the Colca Valley (Caylloma, Arequipa, Peru).[1]

Consumption sites[edit]

Obsidian from the Chivay source has been chemically identified among artifacts from over fifty sites in the south-central Andes. Chivay obsidian was the predominant type found at the Archaic and Formative site of Jiskairumoko on the western side of Lake Titicaca in the Ilave Valley of Puno, Peru.


  • Brooks, Sarah O.; Glascock, Michael D.; Giesso, Martin (1997), "Source of volcanic glass for ancient Andean tools", Nature, 376, pp. 449–450 
  • Burger, Richard L.; Asaro, Frank; Salas, Guido; Stross, Fred (1998), "The Chivay obsidian source and the geological origin of Titicaca Basin type obsidian artifacts", Andean Past, 5, pp. 203–223 
  • Burger, Richard L.; Mohr-Chávez, Karen L.; Chávez, Sergio J. (2000), "Through the Glass Darkly: Prehispanic obsidian procurement and exchange in southern Peru and northern Bolivia", Journal of World Prehistory, 14 (3), pp. 267–362 
  • Giesso, Martin (2000), Stone Tool Production in the Tiwanaku Heartland: the Impact of State Emergence and Expansion on Local Households, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Chicago 
  • Giesso, Martin (2003), "Stone tool production in the Tiwanaku heartland", in Kolata, Alan L., Tiwanaku and Its Hinterland: Archaeology and Paleoecology of an Andean Civilization, vol. 2, Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, pp. 363–383 
  • Palacios, O.; de la Cruz, J.; de la Cruz, N.; Klinck, B. A.; Allison, R. A.; Hawkins, M. P. (1993), Geología de la Cordillera Occidental y Altiplano al oeste del Lago Titicaca-sur del Perú, Boletín No. 42, República del Perú, Sector Energía y Metalúrgico, Lima 
  • Shackley, Steve M. (2005), Obsidian: Geology and archaeology in the North American southwest, Tucson: University of Arizona Press 
  • Tripcevich, Nicholas (2007), Quarries, Caravans, and Routes to Complexity: Prehispanic Obsidian in the South-Central Andes, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of California, Santa Barbara 

Coordinates: 15°38′32″S 71°32′08″W / 15.6423°S 71.5355°W / -15.6423; -71.5355