Archaeometry of Pre-Columbian Sites and Artifacts (Getty by David Scott, Pieter Meyers

By David Scott, Pieter Meyers

Archaeometry is the applying of medical equipment and analyses to the learn of tradition in its archaeological context. Garnered from a convention known as to review the cloth tradition from North and South the US, the book's twenty essays on a extensive diversity of topics symbolize the entire scope of research during this box. They contain papers via Ron L. Bishop at the compositional research of pre-Columbian pottery from the Maya area, Heather Lechtman at the fabrics technology of fabric tradition from the Andes, and J. Michael Elam and others on resource id and hydration courting of obsidian artifacts.

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The physiographic and geological variation within the research area contributes to microzonal variation in clays and tempers available for pottery, thereby offering an almost ideal setting for a compositionally based investigation. Palenque is located on the first escarpment of the folded Chiapas-Tabasco Low Sierra foothills. This environment of the Low Sierra contains ceramic resources derived from the weath­ ering of Miocene and Pliocene sandstones. The non plastic inclusions of the pastes tend to be relatively abundant and angular and, under partial oxidization, the pottery often has a reddish-brown color.

1 988). E by the ruler of Tonini is indicative of political instability within the Low Sierra. Was the development of the Late Murcielagos-Early Balunte sites in the northern Plains a result of popula­ tion and agricultural pressures in the Low Sierra, a wish to be removed from politi­ cal instability, a buffer against outside aggression, or a move to be closer to the northern groups that were figuring more prominently in Palenque's social, eco­ nomic, and possibly political activities ? As always, more questions arise than are answered by present data or understanding.

To these three major regions can be added a narrow physiographic zone at the immediate base of the sierra whose compositional characteristics are transitional to those of the Plains. One of the strongest contrasts between the ceramic resources of the Low Sierra and those of the Plains is observed in the abundance of opal phytoliths. These siliceous mineraloids are formed in silica-accumulating plants and ultimately become part of the sedimentary cycle. While maize, a staple of Maya diet, is a silica accumulator, the high rainfall and steep runoff of the sierra largely prevents the accumulation of opal phytoliths in the Low Sierra clays.

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