Volcanic Ash Tempered Pottery Production in the Late to Terminal Classic Belize Valley, Belize

Jillian M. Jordan, James A. Davenport, Whitney A. Goodwin, Brandi L. Macdonald, Claire E. Ebert, Julie A. Hoggarth, Jaime J. Awe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Production and consumption of pottery tempered with fresh volcanic ash peaked in the Late to Terminal Classic periods in the Maya lowlands. Differences in the type of volcanic inclusion and vessel form indicate that the pottery was produced in multiple locations by different groups of potters. In this article, we characterize pottery from household contexts at Baking Pot, Belize, using thin-section petrography and neutron activation analysis (NAA) to document mineralogical and chemical variability and determine provenance. The pottery was produced by adding fresh volcanic ash to a micritic clay. The petrographic and chemical data indicate that this paste recipe was produced locally in the Belize Valley. Variation in the paste recipes used is likely due to both production differences and postdepositional alteration. We argue that it is critical to use both petrography and NAA to understand pottery production and provenance in the Maya region.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)556-574
Number of pages19
JournalLatin American Antiquity
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 25 2022


  • Classic Maya
  • ceramic technology
  • neutron activation analysis
  • petrography
  • pottery
  • provenance
  • volcanic ash

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • History
  • Archaeology


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