7.8. Conclusion

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Test excavation work illuminated several vital aspects of the Chivay obsidian production system that would have remained as major unknown factors without the testing program. The excavation work demonstrated that intensified obsidian procurement represents a very early example of concentrated production activity in the south-central Andean highlands. Further, ceramics distributions and architectural patterns were of limited use in documenting obsidian production activities, and the Preceramic dates (Terminal Archaic) for initial intensification explain, in part, why ceramics were absent in earlier stages of obsidian production at the Maymeja workshop. The data from excavation also corroborate regional consumption data from the site of Qillqatani and elsewhere that attest to wide circulation of obsidian in these relatively early dates. The documentation of regular changes in the assemblages at the workshop and at consumption sites in the immediate vicinity that offer comparative morphological data for archaeologists working with obsidian from consumption sites further from the Chivay source area. Finally, an investigation of the ways in which the visual characteristics of obsidian varied through time in the excavation sequences can be compared with the variability in space presented in the previous chapter.

The research and analysis at the source could have been improved in two principle ways. First, additional excavated data from the quarry workshop would strengthen the interpretations of the change over time, the spatial extent, and the rate of production at the source. The second major improvement could come from replication studies. As small triangular projectile points and, presumably, large flakes as slicing tools were the principal objective of most production at the workshop, replication would have provided an empirical basis for connecting assemblages from the workshop with the possible forms of the artifacts that were exported from the quarry. Further research will be discussed at the end of the next chapter. In the subsequent and final chapter of this dissertation will summarize and further discussion of the significance of these findings in the larger context of regional exchange.