These rare silver "tumbaga" bars found in 1993 are now a step closer to full understanding. Through a study of contemporary accounts, archeological research and historical sources, it is theorized that these strange ingots were manufactured by the Spanish using a unique copper-silver “alloy” forged by the Tarascans in Mexico as a source for their ornaments and offerings, a particular type of metal the Spanish called "metal of Michoacán," seized by the conquistadors in a single episode within the vast story of the conquest of Mexico during the 1520s.
This book is divided into three parts: The first part chronicles the earliest documents relating to the treasure accumulated by Hernán Cortés during his conquest of the Aztec empire. The second part concerns the later phase of conquest, specifically Captain Cristóbal de Olid’s campaign in the region of the Tarascan kingdom in western Mexico. The third and final part discusses technical aspects of these bars based on an interpretation of their markings and manufacture.
The specimens studied in this book are the only ones known to exist—all of them from the same wreck—and therefore they will always be of the utmost rarity and historical importance. The book contains a data matrix for all 194 bars, including their weights, measurements, markings and descriptions. Also featured are plates of 60 selected bars, maps, native drawings and charts. Additionally there is a list of the names and roles of over 100 people from the “tumbaga” period, and an appendix with new translations from Seven decrees of Charles V pertaining to the circulation of gold and silver in the Americas and key chapters of Bernal Díaz del Castillo's Historia Verdadera De La Conquista De La Nueva España.
Publication Date: 2010