Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Elemental analysis of hematite-based paints on Early Formative Mesoamerican ceramics
by Backes, Clarus J., Jr., M.A., California State University, Long Beach, 2009, 90; 1481608
Abstract (Summary)

This thesis describes the use of laser ablation time-of-flight inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-TOF-ICP-MS) to characterize hematite-based paints on pottery recovered from Cantón Corralito, an Early Formative site near the Pacific coast of Chiapas, Mexico. These paints are compared with each other and with raw hematite recovered from Cantón Corralito and San Lorenzo, the principal Early Olmec center on the Gulf Coast. The analytic and quantitative methods used in this study allowed the characterization of minute quantities of paint on heavily weathered sherds, and successfully distinguished the elemental signatures of hematite from those of surrounding materials. When examined in combination with sherd provenance data, the LA-TOF-ICP-MS data demonstrate that Olmec vessels were decorated in San Lorenzo before being exported to the Pacific Coast, and that Gulf Coast hematite was exported to Cantón Corralito, where it was used to enhance Olmec-style symbolism on locally produced vessels.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Neff, Hector
School: California State University, Long Beach
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 48/04M, Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Archaeology
Publication Number: 1481608
ISBN: 9781109658309
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