Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
|Judith and Janeth classifying the very last lot|
Monday, June 18, 2012
|Toluca from the top of Cerro Toloche. Note the location of the cathedral.|
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
This article has information about Calixtlahuaca:
Smith, Michael E.
2012 Las ciudades prehispánicas: su traza y su dinámica social. In Nueva Historia General del Estado de México, tomo 2, periodo postclásico, edited by Rosaura Hernández Rodríguez and Raymundo César Martínez García. El Colegio Mexiquense, Toluca. (Not sure about the precise citation; it looks like the volume names are different now. I haven't seen the volume yet).
Monday, May 7, 2012
Nice comic from Bizarro last week. It is incredibly ironic that the Mayas did NOT predict the end of the world (in 2012 or any other time) and they get all the publicity, while the Aztecs DID predict the end of the world and no one pays any attention! Well, maybe in 2027 we will get some mileage out of the Aztec prediction.
See my earlier post on Publishing Archaeology about the bogus 2012 predictions.
And this is another good one, widely reproduced by now:
For the ancient residents of Calixtlahuaca, the end of the world came in the 16th century. Once Tenochtitlan fell to Cortés, it wasn't long before smallpox and other diseases, coupled with forced evacuation to Toluca, brought the city of Calixtlahuaca to a halt.
Friday, March 16, 2012
One of those little problems that archaeologists politely ignore most of the time is the issue of inter-analyst or inter-annual classification variability. A couple weeks ago, I was skimming Ian Robertson’s dissertation and realized that many of the issues he describes for the Teotihuacan mapping project ceramic data could well apply to most archaeological projects fifty years after the fact.
For the Calixtlahuaca project, our excavated ceramics have been classified by a whole bunch of different people over the last five years. In an effort at standardization, our lab procedures have always required that a second person check the classification of a bag of sherds before it is finalized, and all previously classified examples of a type are reclassified if we make a major change in the sorting rules. Despite this, I know from personal experience that our sorting rules have drifted a bit over the years. (This also means that our classification manual doesn’t quite match the way things actually work, much to the frustration of anyone new trying to learn the system.)
Because of this cluster of potential issues, I (with lots of help from Judith and Janeth) did a quick classification check/ reclassification of all the lots that I was pulling attribute samples from last year, since the bags were out anyways. We went through probably two thirds of the domestic context sample this way, which should cut down quite a bit on any inter-observer variability within the DCS as a whole. My gut impression was that we made quite a few changes to lots classified during the 2007 and 2008 seasons, with things stabilizing after that. During the first time period we were still apparently working out some of the basic dividing lines (like how to tell the difference between a plain olla body and a plain bowl body) for this particular ceramic assemblage. For lots classified in later seasons, my impression was that the reclassification accounted for some subtle variation due to gradually shifting dividing lines between types, with most changes being from one sub-variant to another within a single decorative family.
As of earlier this week, this semester’s undergraduate volunteers here at ASU finished entering all of the reclassification changes into the ceramic database, which allowed me to do a final ceramic seriation run to see if all the reclassification had effected the dating of particular contexts. (At least, I hope it’s the last run!) The run seems to have produced the usual handful of changes in the phase assignment of particular stratigraphic capas, so if you are analyzing any sort of material from the project by phase, you should probably check in for the updated list in about another week.
Now, while I’m thinking about it, I really ought to go update our ceramic classification manual/type description book, so that it does match how we actually sort sherds…
Thursday, February 23, 2012
Hi everyone! It's Julie here.
I'm still working with the survey data at Calixtlahuaca, trying to make some sense of how neighborhoods were organized culturally and economically. Specifically, were the material differences in class, consumer preferences, ritual, and procurement distributed in clusters in space. Most of the data I use in my analysis is ceramic and seems to suggest that there was limited social clustering based on class and no social clustering based on consumer preferences. I'm still not done with the analysis yet, so there is more information to wring out of the data. However, the obsidian data tells a different story, one where different neighborhoods obtained obsidian from different sources. In fact, neighborhoods in different regions of the site seem to have similar proportions of obsidian. But I'm getting a head of myself.
The obsidian data I'm looking at are the results of an XRF study of 155 pieces of surface collection obsidian representing 19 of the 20 neighborhood units at the site. These pieces of obsidian were sent to Dr. Michael Glascock and his team at the Missouri University Research Reactor. They took care of the chemical analysis and source attribution of the Calixtlahuaca survey obsidian. I got back a file with the data from the XRF analysis and the sources for each piece of obsidian.
We at Calixtlahuaca have obsidian from six known and one unknown source. The green obsidian is confirmed to come from Pachuca. We also have grey obsidian from Ucareo, Zinapecuaro, Otumba, Malpais, and Zacualtipan. The overall distribution of grey obsidian by source is:
So most of the grey obsidian from the survey comes from West Mexican sources! We kind of thought that was going to be the case, but its awesome to have it confirmed.
Another interesting thing that came out of this analysis is what kinds of artifacts are being made with this obsidian. Of my sample, we had 86 pieces of obsidian for which we also had information on lithic technology. This was provided by Dr. Bradford Andrews from Pacific Lutheran University. Based on that information, the people of Calixtlahuaca preferred some obsidian for specific uses over others.
Looking at our two most common grey obsidian, Ucareo and Otumba, the preferences were:
Bipolar Technology 65% 30%
Prismatic Blades 84% 9%
Unifaces and Bifaces 0% 100%
I think that's pretty neat!
So, I'm still looking at the data and making interpretations. This is by no means a final report, but a work in progress. But Angela kept poking me to post this information. Hope you are as excited as I am.
Monday, January 16, 2012
ngela's post on selecting this sample), and Adrian Burke will get a shipment of obsidian for sourcing using X-Ray flourescence.
We sampled a couple of nearby obsidian sources that are not well documented in the literature in 2010. I thought we had a blog post on this sampling, but it looks like in all the haste and activity at the end of the lab season, no one got around to writing this up. I guess we were so overwhelmed at visiting the Otomi Ceremonial Center that everyone forgot that we only saw that place because we were in the area looking for obsidian. We found a hill completely covered with obsidian. It was wild, which is why I am having such fun in the nice photo that Brad took of me that day. Unfortunately, Brad and Adrian don't think that we have much obsidian from this source, which is pretty low quality material. But we did get source samples and the chemistry will tell......