Organic Analysis of Residues from Noded Vessels from the Lower Mississippi Valley

Author(s): Alex Lima Hooven; Jon Russ; David Dye

Year: 2016


Analysis of organic residues in ceramic vessels obtained from archaeological excavations has the potential to identify the substances Native Americans stored in ceramic pots of various shapes, sizes and designs. In this study we analyzed residues extracted from a particular type of vessel that has unique designs covering the outer surface. It was recently proposed that these noded pots were used specifically to process Datura for religious ceremonies. Datura contains tropane alkaloids that have psychoactive properties that also make the plant dangerous if ingested; thus, the unique markings on the external surfaces indicated that these pots were not to be used for other purposes. Two jars were analyzed non-destructively by ultrasonicating the whole pots directly in a methanol:chloroform solvent mixture. The extracts were derivatized using BSFTA with 1% TMCS and analyzed using gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) and gas chromatography with flame ionization detection (GC-FID). Standard solutions of the compound atropine, the most abundant alkaloid in many Datura species, were analyzed to determine the instrument LOD and MDL. Our results indicate that atropine was below the detection limit but other alkaloids were identified.

Cite this Record

Organic Analysis of Residues from Noded Vessels from the Lower Mississippi Valley. Alex Lima Hooven, Jon Russ, David Dye. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 405059)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -91.274; min lat: 24.847 ; max long: -72.642; max lat: 36.386 ;