Lead and strontium isotopes to source ceramics in ancient Mexico
Recent study showed that lead isotope analysis constitutes an efficient tool to discriminate between ceramics from different origins and can be used to trace pottery provenance in the Eastern Mediterranean (Renson et al. 2011 [Archaeometry 53] 37-57, Renson et al. [Archaeometry] in press). We are now applying this approach to Olmec-style pottery from Mexico. In this study, we analyzed lead and strontium isotopes of fragments from various Olmec-style ceramic wares excavated at San Lorenzo, Mazatan and Tlapacoya (including Limon carved-incised, Calzadas-carved and La Mina White). Contradictory hypotheses regarding the origins and exchange of these ceramics have been raised and the various interpretations are still being hotly debated (e.g. Blomster et al. 2005 [Science 307] 1068-1072, Stoltman et al. 2005 [Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 102] 11213-11218, Neff et al. 2006 [Latin American Antiquity 17] 54-76, Stoltman 2011 [Archaeometry 53] 510-527). This study investigates how to use the isotopic approach to confirm or refute previous interpretations based, among other, on neutron activation results and how it could contribute to trace interactions in the Mesoamerican region.
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Lead and strontium isotopes to source ceramics in ancient Mexico. Virginie Renson, Hector Neff, David Cheetham, James Guthrie, Michael D. Glascock. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404857)
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