Re-Contextualizing Pre-Columbian Gold and Resin Artifacts from Panama in the National Museum of the American Indian
Until recent years the study of Pre-Columbian gold and resin objects from Panama was slow to progress due to the relative scarcity of archaeological projects excavating these materials. While the original contexts of many museum objects have been lost, the collection of Panamanian gold and resin in the National Museum of the American Indian was re-evaluated for its potential to answer key questions about the ancient craftspeople of this region. To ensure accurate provenience information was associated with each artifact, research was undertaken in the archives of the NMAI. The resulting letters and field notebooks provided insight into the fascinating history of these objects. Scientific analysis further contextualized these objects in terms of the materials and fabrication techniques. Compositional analysis of 231 gold objects using XRF revealed significant patterns related to the source of the raw materials and the technological choices that went into making them. Three resin objects also underwent FTIR and GC-MS analysis to identify the plant source of the resin. This project has produced valuable technical data on this region that has been relatively understudied archaeologically and additional detailed information has been added to the museum records for each of the objects in this study.
Cite this Record
Re-Contextualizing Pre-Columbian Gold and Resin Artifacts from Panama in the National Museum of the American Indian. Ainslie Harrison, Harriet "Rae" Beaubien, Kimberly Cullen Cobb, Emily Kaplan, Jennifer Giaccai. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 443959)
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min long: -92.153; min lat: -4.303 ; max long: -50.977; max lat: 18.313 ;
Abstract Id(s): 22060