Heather Nan Lechtman

  • Professor of Archaeology and Ancient Technology
  • Director, Center for Materials Research in Archaeology and Ethnology (CMRAE)
  • BA Physics, Vassar College, 1956
  • MA Fine Arts and Archaeology, New York University, 1966
  • Diploma Archaeological Conservation, New York University, 1966

Material Culture

Heather Lechtman

Research

Heather Lechtman carries out her fieldwork in the Andean zone of South America where she has spent 43 years investigating the prehistoric systems of technology Andean peoples developed to manage a highly varied and high stress environment. Her area of specialty is prehistoric Andean metallurgy. Professor Lechtman’s research has demonstrated that the Andean zone of South America was the locus of what became, over time, a pan-Andean set of metallurgical technologies that developed first in the Andes and later was transmitted to societies farther north. The Andean culture area was one of the primary zones for the development of sophisticated metallurgical practice in the ancient world. Professor Lechtman’s current research involves investigation of the range of unusual bronze alloys Andean peoples designed long before the establishment of the Inka state.

Recent News

Profs. Hosler, Lechtman, and Ortony receive J-WAFs awards

This year, seven new projects led by eleven faculty PIs across six MIT departments will be funded with two-year grants of up to $200,000, overhead free. The winning projects include a silk-based food safety sensor; research into climate vulnerability and resilience in agriculture using…   more

Publications

2016

A. W. Macfarlane and Lechtman, H. N., “Andean Ores, Bronze Artifacts, and Lead Isotopes: Constraints on Metal Sources in Their Geological Context”, Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory, vol. 23. pp. 1-72, 2016.

2014

A. W. Macfarlane and Lechtman, H. N., “Andean Ores, Bronze Artifacts, and Lead Isotopes: Constraints on Metal Sources in Their Geological Context.”, Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory, vol. 23. pp. 1-72, 2014.
H. N. Lechtman, Roberts, B. W., and Thornton, C. P., “Andean Metallurgy in Prehistory”, Archaeometallurgy in Global Perspective. pp. 361-422, 2014.

2010

H. N. Lechtman, Cruz, P., Macfarlane, A., and Carter, S., “Procesamiento de Metales Durante el Horizonte Medio en el Altiplano Surandino (Escaramayu, Pulacayo, Potosi, Bolivia)”, Boletin del Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino, vol. 15. pp. 9-27, 2010.

2007

H. N. Lechtman, Matos, R., Burger, R., and Morris, C., “The Inka, and Andean Metallurgical Tradition”, Variations in the Expression of Inka Power. pp. 323-365, 2007.

2005

H. N. Lechtman and Macfarlane, A. W., “La metalurgia del bronce en los Andes Sur Centrales: Tiwanaku y San Pedro de Atacama”, Estudios atacame\~nos. pp. 7-27, 2005.

2001

S. Uhland, Lechtman, H. N., and Kaufman, L., “Assessment of the As-Cu-Ni system: An example from archaeology”, Calphad-Computer Coupling of Phase Diagrams and Thermochemistry, vol. 25. pp. 109-124, 2001.

1999

H. N. Lechtman, “Prehispanic metal tools and arms in Peru”, Latin American Antiquity, vol. 10. pp. 437-438, 1999.
H. N. Lechtman and Klein, S., “The production of copper-arsenic alloys (arsenic bronze) by cosmelting: Modern experiment, ancient practice”, Journal of Archaeological Science, vol. 26. pp. 497-526, 1999.

1994

H. N. Lechtman, “SMITH,CYRIL,STANLEY (4-OCTOBER-1903 18-AUGUST-1992) + IN-MEMORIAM”, Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, vol. 138. pp. 569-573, 1994.
H. N. Lechtman, The materials science of material culture: Examples from the Andean past. 1994.

1991

H. N. Lechtman, “THE PRODUCTION OF COPPER-ARSENIC ALLOYS IN THE CENTRAL ANDES - HIGHLAND ORES AND COASTAL SMELTERS”, Journal of Field Archaeology, vol. 18. pp. 43-76, 1991.
C. A. Handwerker, Lechtman, H. N., MARINENKO, R. B., BRIGHT, D. S., and NEWBURY, D. E., FABRICATION OF PLATINUM-GOLD ALLOYS IN PRE-HISPANIC SOUTH-AMERICA - ISSUES OF TEMPERATURE AND MICROSTRUCTURE CONTROL, vol. 185. 1991.

1990

D. Hosler, Lechtman, H. N., and Holm, O., Axe-monies and their relatives, vol. 30. Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks, 1990, p. 103.

1984

H. N. Lechtman, “ANDEAN VALUE-SYSTEMS AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF PREHISTORIC METALLURGY”, Technology and Culture, vol. 25. pp. 1-36, 1984.
H. N. Lechtman, “PRE-COLUMBIAN SURFACE METALLURGY”, Scientific American, vol. 250. pp. 56-63, 1984.