Volcanic ash in the ceramics of the greater Palenque Region and Usumacinta Drainage, Chiapas and Tabasco, Mexico

Author(s): Socorro Jiménez; Ronald Bishop; Erin Sears

Year: 2015


Knowledge about the movement of pottery with volcanic constituents throughout the northwestern Maya Lowlands, from Preclassic through Postclassic times is closely tied to sub-regionally specific resources of the Usumacinta Drainage—from its origin in the highland to the Gulf delta. Following pioneering work in the region by Blom, Berlin, Ochoa, and Rands, we focus on sites in the greater Palenque subregion and their links to sites along the Usumacinta and in the Chiapas Sierras. Although Karl Saper, 19th Century explorer and antiquarian, noted the possible presence of volcanic ash near Palenque, no continuously exploited sources, other than those of Usumacinta have been determined. The volcanic pottery, therefore is either imported to Palenque or the tempering materials are imported—or both. In this presentation we present aspects of the compositional and archaeological patterning that we observe in our use of an extensive data base of temper examinations, petrographic analyses and chemical characterizations using neutron activation to investigate subregional sources of raw material procurement, ceramic manufacture, distribution, and changes in technology through time.

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Cite this Record

Volcanic ash in the ceramics of the greater Palenque Region and Usumacinta Drainage, Chiapas and Tabasco, Mexico. Ronald Bishop, Socorro Jiménez, Erin Sears. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395991)


Geographic Keywords
Central America

Spatial Coverage

min long: -94.702; min lat: 6.665 ; max long: -76.685; max lat: 18.813 ;