Technological and material characterization of lapidary artifacts from Tamtoc Archaeological Site, Mexico

  • Melgar E
  • Solís R
  • Ruvalcaba J
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Abstract

Tamtoc is a very important archaeological site in San Luis Potosi, in the Central region of Mexico. The pre-Hispanic Huastec culture developed in this site (900-1100 A.D.). During the archaeological excavations, a large amount of lithic artifacts were recovered from burials and offerings. Among them, pieces of semitransparent crystalline objects of color blue, green, yellow and white and green stone pieces were discovered in one of the most important ceremonial precinct, inside a water reservoir of the monument 32 "The Priestess". The aim of this work is to measure the composition of the artifacts for provenance study and to establish the manufacturing technique and tools used to produce them. For material analysis, a combined analysis involving X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) and Raman spectroscopy was applied. The main elements as well as some traces can be measured by XRF while the mineral identification can be established by Raman. The results indicate that most of the pieces are calcite with traces of rare elements. On the other hand, experimental archaeology using a well established methodology of optical and electron microscopy examination of the manufacturing traces was applied. From this technological study the specific use of tools and materials were established for this site. © 2012 Materials Research Society.

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Authors

  • Emiliano Melgar

  • Reyna Solís

  • José Luis Ruvalcaba

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