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Ancient Greenstone Mosaic Masks from the Central Maya Lowlands of Guatemala: A Contextual and Technological Study

Author(s): Juan Melendez

Year: 2017

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Summary

To date, nine greenstone mosaic masks (GMM), recovered in eight royal and one elite interment, have been found in association with other grave goods belonging to ancient Maya individuals from Tikal, El Zotz, and El Perú-Waka’. Nearly 1,000 tesserae compose these nine GMM, however to date it is unknown what the mosaic masks originally looked like as these were found unassembled. Nonetheless, prior to carrying out preliminary reintegration and restoration projects, a manufacturing study was deemed necessary. This paper presents the technological analyses carried out to determine the material of the tools used to create each tessera. This analysis is based on scanning electron microscope (SEM) observations of selected sectors of the tesserae. By comparing the SEM observations of contemporaneous greenstone materials obtained from experimental archaeology processes, I expect to identify manufacturing signatures that could suggest one or multiple traditions of GMM production. In addition, the contextual information of the GMM that could provide insights about the socio-political dynamics in the Central Maya Lowlands during the Early and Late Classic periods (A.D. 350 – 750) will be covered in this paper.


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Ancient Greenstone Mosaic Masks from the Central Maya Lowlands of Guatemala: A Contextual and Technological Study. Juan Melendez. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431425)


Keywords

General
Greenstone Mosaic

Geographic Keywords
Mesoamerica


Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15258

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