A multianalytical approach for identifying a manganese source for the black pigment of the Chinchorro mortuary palette

Van Hoesen, John; Arriaza, Bernardo; Ryan, Peter; Grady, C.

Keywords: chile, xrd, chinchorro, manganese, mortuary


The primary goal of this study was to characterize and evaluate the potential origins of manganese‐based paint used to decorate the Chinchorro mummies of northern Chile. We sampled small painted fragments from the trunk of two black mummies and nine samples from the cranium/face of the red mummies. In addition, we sampled manganese‐bearing rocks from the Lauca and Huaylas Formations exposed in the Altiplano, approximately 80–90 km northeast of Arica, Chile. Using scanning electron microscopy, energy‐dispersive spectroscopy, X‐ray diffraction, inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, and oxygen isotopic data, we propose these two formations are the likely source of manganese used by the Chinchorro culture to create their distinctive mortuary paint. However, the processes by which they collected and transported the raw material are still unclear. It is possible that Chinchorro traveled to the Altiplano, but a more likely cost‐benefit scenario is that manganese‐rich clasts were transported to lower elevations via rivers fed by seasonal rain and snowmelt

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Volumen: 34
Editorial: Wiley
Fecha de publicación: 2019
Página de inicio: 322
Página final: 335
Idioma: Inglés
Financiamiento/Sponsor: J. William Fulbright Scholarship, Award No. 0523 y FONDECYT No 1170120
URL: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/15206548


Notas: WOS, ISI