The Indian women look for the rocks that are discarded around the mouths of the mine, which is called pallar, that is, to break them up and choose those of value and separate them from the rest. And these are all sold at midday in Potosí.
Before that hour, no Spaniard can buy anything from an Indian, and this is so that the Indians have a chance to buy these metals, as there are many Indians who buy them for their furnaces.
Friar Diego de Ocana, The Famous Cerro of Potosí and Customs of Her People, 1599
There have been men who, having entered only out of curiosity to see that horrible labyrinth, have come out totally robbed of color, and (grinding tooth against tooth) have not been able to pronounce a word; they have not known even how to ponder it nor make reference to the terrors that are in there, because there are places where no matter how high you lift your head you cannot see the top, and looking below you cannot see the bottom; on one side you see a horror, on another a fright, and everything that you see in there is all confusion.
Bartolomé Arzans de Orsua y Vela, History of the Imperial City of Potosí, 1703