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ERIC Number: ED546012
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 649
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: 978-1-2675-7578-4
The Analytic Reconciliation of Classic Mayan Elite Pottery: Squaring Pottery Function with Form, Adornment, and Residual Contents
Loughmiller-Newman, Jennifer Ann
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, State University of New York at Albany
This dissertation presents a multidisciplinary means of determining the actual content (foodstuff, non-foodstuff, or lack of contents) of Classic Mayan (A.D. 250-900) vessels. Based on previous studies that have identified the residues of foodstuffs named in hieroglyphic texts (e.g. cacao), this study is designed to further investigate foodstuff residues in the elite vessels indicated by text or image to contain those residues, and the methods employed for residue characterization. Prior to studies utilizing residue analysis, the content of Classic Maya vessels largely had long been inferred largely by ethnographic analogy, associating specific vessel forms with specific uses based on ethnographic or ethnohistorical descriptions, and more recently by a synthesis of such analogical characterizations with insights from the texts and/or iconographic images adorning many elite vessels. These synthetic interpretations are referred to in this dissertation as analogical characterizations. Scientific verification of such inferences by residue analysis remains underemployed despite recent technological advances. The nearly exclusive employment of analogical interpretations for interpreting vessels' uses and contents has been the root cause of the misdiagnosis of the functions of these and other associated archaeological materials. Without confirmation through objective means, these ascribed interpretations stem only from inferred behaviors rather than confirmation of actual behavior. Vessels frequently serve multiple functions both as containers and as cultural symbols, but vessel functions inferred analogically tend to be limited largely to a subset of their status as varied types of containers of various foodstuffs--cooking wares, storage wares, serving wares, and wares from which foodstuffs were consumed. This practice leaves scholars with artifacts and interpretations largely based on prior expectations or other uncritically "a priori" categorizations. This thesis is designed to provide a method for answering the specific question of what (if indeed anything) was contained in these elite vessels. To interpret the results of this method, all available data regarding vessel form and technical properties, hieroglyphic text, iconographic decoration, ethnographic and ethnohistorical documentation of Mayan practices, and content residues (determined by organic and inorganic detection) were integrated, sometimes supplemented by experimental work making vessels to particular specifications and testing their properties. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A