Unveiling the Artisan Secrets of the Lapidary Goods from the Great Temple of the Aztecs

Author(s): Emiliano Melgar; Reyna Solís

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "Approaches to Cultural and Biological Complexity in Mexico at the Time of Spanish Conquest" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Recent studies have demonstrated that the cultural provenance and diversity of the goods found in the offerings from the Sacred Precinct of Tenochtitlan are more complex than the archaeologists thought, overlapping their acquisition by tribute, exchange, war prizes, or looting. In the case of the lapidary objects, the majority of prior researchers divided their cultural provenance by their visual characteristics, especially the iconography, without comparing the raw materials, the technology, and the possibility of emulation of styles. In this paper, we present the mineralogical identification of new stones and geological sources with the employment of EDS, p-XRF and Micro-Raman Spectroscopy; and the traceological analysis of them with experimental archaeology and SEM. As a result, we confirm the presence of different lapidary traditions, unveiling some craft secrets of these items, detecting new styles and relics unreported by other researchers, and the existence of emulations of specific prestige goods. These studies allowed us to discuss their local or foreign origins, and improve their cultural affiliation and provenance. Finally, we compared these results with other lapidary assemblages, in order to discuss their place of production.

Cite this Record

Unveiling the Artisan Secrets of the Lapidary Goods from the Great Temple of the Aztecs. Emiliano Melgar, Reyna Solís. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 451227)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 18.48 ; max long: -94.087; max lat: 23.161 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 24620