Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationVanderbilt U.
Grant numberGr. 9551
Approve DateOctober 11, 2017
Project TitleProctor, Terren K., Vanderbilt U., Nashville, TN - To aid research on 'Investigating the Embodiment of Labor and Mercury Mining at Santa BÃ¡rbara, Peru,' supervised by Dr. Tiffany A. Tung
This study will use bioarchaeological techniques of osteological and stable isotope analysis to investigate the embodiment of the structurally violent system of the colonial economy into the biology of its indigenous laborers. The labor of indigenous peoples was essential for the functioning of the mining economy of the New World, and was extracted primarily through the mita tributary labor system, which the Spanish adopted from the Inka. Mining itself was a cornerstone of the Spanish colonial economy in the New World, providing capital to the crown in the form of refined silver and gold ores from throughout the colonies. Mercury mining was a key component of that economy, as quicksilver amalgamation became essential for the extraction of silver. Specifically, I will excavate and analyze human remains recovered from a walled compound at the site of Santa B’rbara, the largest colonial mercury mine in the Americas. This project will contribute to understandings of how Spanish colonial institutions affected the health status of marginalized individuals, both within their own lifetimes and intergenerationally, as a result of gruelling physical labor, restricted access to resources, and the bioaccumulation of heavy metals. Thus, it will provide a new manner by which to understand how violent structures become embodied and fundamentally alter the lived experience of individuals within oppressive regimes.