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Insights into Maya Ceramic Techniques with Digital X-Radiography

Author(s): Megan ONeil ; Charlotte Eng ; John Hirx ; Diana Magaloni-Kerpel ; Yosi Pozeilov

Year: 2016

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Based on ethnographic comparisons and the study of ceramic materials, art historians and archaeologists have long inferred techniques of Classic Maya ceramic production, such as the use of coils, slabs, and molds. This paper will review new analytical tools for imaging Maya vessels and what they reveal about ancient ceramic production techniques. Digital x-radiography is one tool in a suite of other non-invasive techniques that are being used to a study a group of ceramic vessels in LACMA’s permanent collection. The interpretations of the radiographs are made in conjunction with physical examination of the vessels as well as other ceramics. Assumptions about how Maya vessels were built, including the use of handbuilding and wheel techniques, can now be confirmed or refuted through digital x-radiography of vessels. Furthermore, the interpretation of radiographs in a digital format allows for vessels to be grouped according to the degree of manipulation of clay bodies. This research is one part of the Maya Vase Research Project, an interdisciplinary collaboration between curatorial and conservation departments. The implementation of these analytical tools both creates more context for these objects in the LACMA collection and can in turn be used on excavated objects for further comparison and study.

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Insights into Maya Ceramic Techniques with Digital X-Radiography. Megan ONeil, Charlotte Eng, John Hirx, Diana Magaloni-Kerpel, Yosi Pozeilov. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404619)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America