A Petrographic Analysis of Ceramics from the Prehistoric Maya Site of Hun Tun in Northwestern Belize




DeMario, Jeffrey Daniel

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A petrographic analysis was conducted on sherd samples from the small prehistoric Maya site of Hun Tun, located in the hinterlands of the larger elite polity, La Milpa, in Northwestern Belize. Hun Tun contains a chultun, an archaeological feature in the ground which was filled with a clay which was lacking in inclusions. Dr. Robyn Dodge, the archaeologist who first investigated Hun Tun, interpreted the chultun as being used for ritual storage. Twenty-three sherds, as well as four clay samples were made into thin sections, before being viewed under a Zeiss Axioskop 40 polarizing microscope in the Graduate Microscopy Lab in the Jackson School of Geosciences at the University of Texas at Austin. Quantitative and qualitative analysis has shown two distinct petrofabrics at Hun Tun, which I have called the Sand-Carbonate Fabric, and the Carbonate Fabric. These two distinct groups are both dominated by calcite or dolomite inclusions, with grog (crushed pottery), hematite, and quartz in much lower percentages. Clay samples taken from the chultun, as well as sherds from Hun Tun excavations, are compared to show if the clay which was ritually stored at Hun Tun was also used in ceramic production.



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