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A Microscopic View of Ceramic Production: An Analysis of Thin-Sections from Monte Albán

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

Lane F. Fargher*
Affiliation:
Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907 (lfargher@purdue.edu)

Abstract

This paper presents the results of a recent petrographic study of Monte Albán grayware pottery. Using INEGI bedrock maps, optical mineralogy, and sedimentary petrology techniques, I demonstrate that the organization of gray-ware production changed greatly through time at Monte Albán. During the Late-Terminal Formative period (Monte Albán I-II), the majority of the gray wares consumed at Monte Albán were probably imported to this hilltop center from some distance. Furthermore, I found the paste composition of this pottery was highly variable, suggesting that many small-scale part-time specialists were engaged in gray-ware production at this time. With the transition to the Classic period (Monte Albán III-IV), the organization of gray-ware production may have changed dramatically and nearly all of the gray wares recovered from Monte Albán were probably produced at this hilltop center. At the same time, we see extensive evidence of specialized gray-ware production at Monte Albán from both survey and excavation data.

Resumen

Resumen

El siguiente estudio petrográfico de muestras de cerámica gris de Monte Albán se apoyó sobre datos obtenidos de mapas geológicos publicados por INEGI, mineralogía óptica y técnicas de petrología sedimentaria. El análisis petrográfico indica que la organización de la producción de cerámica gris probablemente cambio mucho del período Formativo Tardío al Clásico. Durante el Formativo Tardío (Monte Albán I-II), la mayoría de la cerámica gris empleada en Monte Albán probablemente se importó desde pueblos lejanos del Valle de Oaxaca. Además, nuestros resultados muestran que la composición de la pasta gris era muy variable, sugiriendo la existencia de pequeños grupos que dedicaban parte de su tiempo a su producción. Con la transición al Clásico (Monte Albán III-IV), la organización de producción de la cerámica gris cambió radicalmente ya que casi todos sus restos recolectados en Monte Albán fue con probablemente producidos en el mismo centro. En la misma época, hay mucha evidencia de producción de cerámica gris en Monte Albán procedente de prospecciones y excavaciones con una producción que cambió a una mayor intensificación de especialistas de tiempo completo durante el período Clásico.

Type
Reports
Copyright
Copyright © Society for American Archaeology 2007

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