Annals of Science 79 (2):259-273 (2022)

ABSTRACT This article reports on a historical investigation carried out on the conical object MIN000-3519 preserved in the mineralogy collections of the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle at Paris. The mineralogist René-Just Haüy included this object, cut in a single pyrite crystal, in his working collection with the references ‘Sulphured iron, mirror of the Incas, of Peru, M. de Jussieu’. All of the research lines followed lead the author to Joseph de Jussieu and his shipments of botanical specimens and various other samples from South America. As a member of the Godin-La Condamine-Bouguer geodesic expedition on the equator, he returned to France only after 36 years, ill, exhausted and dispossessed of the scientific product of his Andean collections. This pyrite mirror is important because, in addition to appearing to be the only archaeological object that can be linked to Joseph's peregrinations in America, it resembles other specimens found at sites of the Cañaris culture in Ecuador. Preserved within the de Jussieu family, this object would presumably have been given to Haüy by Joseph's heirs, his nephews Antoine-Laurent or Laurent-Pierre, with whom he had close ties.
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DOI 10.1080/00033790.2022.2028900
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