Examining variability and provenance through ceramic petrography at Chavín de Huántar

Author(s): Laura Marsh

Year: 2015


The site of Chavín de Huántar, in the Peruvian Andes, exhibits an extraordinary amount of variability and complexity. In order to better understand this diversity, ceramic fragments from different contexts within the site were sampled, specifically for paste analysis. An initial macroscopic analysis suggested higher variability in pastes within the ceremonial center than within the residential area across the river. It also showed that the fragments from different contexts within the ceremonial center belonged largely to different paste groups. Of the fragments analyzed macroscopically, 75 were chosen for thin sectioning and petrographic analysis, for the purpose of confirming the results of the macroscopic analysis and for sourcing the samples by comparison with geological samples from the area as well as with petrographic analyses from contemporaneous sites and previous studies of Chavín ceramics. This allowed for the distinction of local versus non-local raw materials among the various fragments and subsequent triangulation of this data with characteristics of the particular sherds, such as depositional context, vessel type, decoration, and other features. The results of this research provide insights into both the variability within the site of Chavín and the site’s relationship with other areas and sites within the region.

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Examining variability and provenance through ceramic petrography at Chavín de Huántar. Laura Marsh. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 398329)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -93.691; min lat: -56.945 ; max long: -31.113; max lat: 18.48 ;