Analysis of Culturally Derived Speleothem by INAA: An Analytic Approach to Sourcing


Recent investigations in various surface and underground cave sites indicate the existence of extensive political, economic, religious and military exchanges between polities in the Maya lowlands of Belize.

The occurrence of "foreign" materials at surface and cave sites have become an increasingly well-documented phenomenon (Brady et al. 1997) and are indicative of transport of speleothems during ancient Maya cave visitations. This phenomenon has raise several questions such as the spatial and temporal extend of these interactions, practices, and specifically the relationship between Maya polities and proximal or distant caves.

Geochemical analysis of samples by Instrumental Neutron Activation Analyses (INAA) is a very common and reliable practice. In this study we analyzed (71) samples comprised of various types of speleothems (Stalactites, stalagmites, flowstones, cave pearls) collected in various locales in Belize (Macal, Barton Creek, Pine Ridge, Roaring Creek, Cave’s Branch and Sibun Valley). Our samples were come from two separate expeditions, the Belize Valley Speleothem Project and provided by Dr. Holley Moyes (U.C. Merced), and Xibun Archaeological Research Project provided by Dr. Polly A Peterson. Our results elucidates the use of INAA as a viable method of sourcing lithic materials, differentiating samples within the same cave and between different caves.

Cite this Record

Analysis of Culturally Derived Speleothem by INAA: An Analytic Approach to Sourcing. Humberto Nation, Leah Minc, Holley Moyes, Polly Peterson, James E. Brady. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 444008)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -94.197; min lat: 16.004 ; max long: -86.682; max lat: 21.984 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 22424