International Pots of Mystery: Using PXRF spectroscopy to identify the provenance of botijas from 16th Century sites on Peru's north coast

Sarah J. Kelloway, Parker VanValkenburgh, Cesar Widebaldo Astuhuaman Gonzales, Andrea Gonzáles Lombardi, Diego Bedoya Vidal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study presents the results of visual and portable X-ray fluorescence (PXRF) analyses of botijas/olive jars from the 16th Century sites of San Miguel de Piura and Carrizales, north coast Peru. Although visual analysis generally enabled the discrimination of Spanish- from New World-made sherds, PXRF analyses permitted further provenance determinations to specific regions and countries of origin. The results show that botijas from these sites variously derive from Spain, Panama and South America, with only Spanish sherds present at the church contexts under study in San Miguel de Piura. At Carrizales, Spanish botijas are abundant across church and domestic associated spaces, with only slightly higher concentrations recovered from church-affiliated contexts, and Panamanian and South American sherds also present. These results suggest that numerous economic, socio-religious and political factors were at play in the use and potential re-use of botijas at these sites.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101974
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science: Reports
Volume27
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors wish to thank the XRF laboratory, SSEAU, MWAC, University of New South Wales for generously allowing the use of their PXRF instrument, as well as the Ministerio de Cultura (Dirección Desconcentrada de Cultura Piura) for enabling this project, including the use of their offices in Piura for analysis. Research on the San Miguel de Piura collection was authorised by the permission RD 018-2016-DGM from the Peruvian Ministry of Culture. The authors also wish to thank Rabeya Akter (ICP Laboratory, SSEAU, MWAC) for analysis of samples using LA-ICP-MS. Field and laboratory research at Carrizales were supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities (grant RZ-51748-14 ) and Brown University (2015, 2016); the National Geographic Society Committee for Research and Exploration (grant 9334-13 ) and the University of Vermont (2014); the Wenner-Gren Foundation (2012); and the Social Science Research Council and the Frederick Sheldon Trust (2009–2010). Research by the Proyecto Arqueológico Zaña colonial was authorised by the following permissions from the Peruvian Ministry of Culture: RD 1141/INC (2009–2010), RD 553-2012-DGPC-VMPCIC/MC (2012), RD 246-2014-DGPA-VMPCIC/MC (2014), RD 294-2015-DGPA599 VMPCIC/MC (2015) and RD 000020–2016/DGM/VMPCIC/MC (2016). Carol Rojas Vega, Natalia Guzmán Requena, Rocío Torres Mora, and Daniela Zevallos Castañeda were codirectors of the Proyecto Arqueológico Zaña Colonial, respectively, in 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2015/2016. The authors thank the Museo Nacional Heinrich Brüning in Lambayeque and Director Carlos Wester la Torre, who have provided storage space for project finds, as well as the great numbers of students and other researchers for their contributions to the project.

Funding Information:
The authors wish to thank the XRF laboratory, SSEAU, MWAC, University of New South Wales for generously allowing the use of their PXRF instrument, as well as the Ministerio de Cultura (Direcci?n Desconcentrada de Cultura Piura) for enabling this project, including the use of their offices in Piura for analysis. Research on the San Miguel de Piura collection was authorised by the permission RD 018-2016-DGM from the Peruvian Ministry of Culture. The authors also wish to thank Rabeya Akter (ICP Laboratory, SSEAU, MWAC) for analysis of samples using LA-ICP-MS. Field and laboratory research at Carrizales were supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities (grant RZ-51748-14) and Brown University (2015, 2016); the National Geographic Society Committee for Research and Exploration (grant 9334-13) and the University of Vermont (2014); the Wenner-Gren Foundation (2012); and the Social Science Research Council and the Frederick Sheldon Trust (2009?2010). Research by the Proyecto Arqueol?gico Za?a colonial was authorised by the following permissions from the Peruvian Ministry of Culture: RD 1141/INC (2009?2010), RD 553-2012-DGPC-VMPCIC/MC (2012), RD 246-2014-DGPA-VMPCIC/MC (2014), RD 294-2015-DGPA599 VMPCIC/MC (2015) and RD 000020?2016/DGM/VMPCIC/MC (2016). Carol Rojas Vega, Natalia Guzm?n Requena, Roc?o Torres Mora, and Daniela Zevallos Casta?eda were codirectors of the Proyecto Arqueol?gico Za?a Colonial, respectively, in 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2015/2016. The authors thank the Museo Nacional Heinrich Br?ning in Lambayeque and Director Carlos Wester la Torre, who have provided storage space for project finds, as well as the great numbers of students and other researchers for their contributions to the project.

Keywords

  • Botija
  • Ceramics
  • Colonial
  • Olive jar
  • Peru
  • Portable XRF

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