A new study concluded that Spanish invaders were forced to learn from the Mesoamerican Indians about copper production.
Archaeological discoveries in El Manchón, Mexico, support the idea that Spanish invaders, desperate for bronze artillery, haggled, bribed and subjugated indigenous peoples to gain knowledge about metallurgy, advances the site Science Alert.
Historical archives of Portugal and Spain have long suggested that this happened. According to investigators, the Spaniards, who arrived in this part of the world in the early 16th century, had no knowledge of copper smelting and were therefore forced to trust the enemy they were trying to colonize.
Now, researchers have found archaeological evidence that "provides a unique example": "A hand-operated circular bellows oven design that provided a highly successful and long-lasting technical option to dramatically increase the volume of copper production," they wrote the study authors published, in March, in the scientific journal Latin American Antiquity.
According to the same website, this is the only existing archaeological example of this particular project, although there is an illustration in a museum in this Mexican region.
“Western Mexicans had already developed the technical knowledge to melt these metallic ores. What changed drastically was the scale of copper production, made possible by the introduction of European bellows ”, explain the researchers.
Using four lines of research, including history, engineering analysis, archaeological data and ethnographic data, the team has documented changes in copper production technology in this part of the world over two centuries.
The new research suggests that the region may have done so for more than 400 years, spanning pre-Hispanic periods and the colonial period.