Metallurgical Production at Mayapan, Yucatan, Mexico: New Discoveries from the R-183 Group


The Postclassic period urban center of Mayapan housed numerous household craft production industries, including metallurgical production. The recovery of metal artifacts, production debris, and metallurgical ceramics from contexts throughout the city suggests a number of independent production sites. One of the most significant archaeological contexts associated with metallurgical production is the R-183 group, an elite residential group in the southeast mid-city sector. Salvage excavations in 1998 recovered a small cache in Structure R-183b containing 282 copper bells, two miniature ceramic vessels filled with metal, and production debris including loose casting sprues and failed bells. The structure also contained a tomb that included a copper bell and evidence of apiculture likely associated with lost-wax casting. Further excavations at neighboring structures in 2015 revealed additional metal consumer goods and metallurgical ceramic mold fragments. Metallographic analysis of a small copper bell and wire fragments from the R-183b cache using SEM-EDS reveal lost-wax casting production techniques using technologies also suggested by metallurgical ceramic mold fragments found at the group. The results of portable X-Ray Fluorescence spectrometry of metal artifacts and metallurgical ceramics from the R-183 group provide insight into the range of copper alloys and technological decisions made by its artisans.

Cite this Record

Metallurgical Production at Mayapan, Yucatan, Mexico: New Discoveries from the R-183 Group. Elizabeth H. Paris, Elizabeth Baquedano, Carlos Peraza Lope. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430124)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15950