La Blanca and Chilonche are two of the many Mayan settlements located on the lower reaches of the Mopan river (Department of Petén, Guatemala). The archaeological work conducted by La Blanca Project (University of Valencia, Spain) over the last ten years has revealed the rich polychrome of the monumental architecture of these sites, where the remains of ancient mural paintings are of the highest quality.
In order to ascertain the materials and techniques used by painters at each site throughout the Classic period, our research team has recently conducted an analytical study with a multi-technique approach based on the combination of several non destructive and micro-destructive instrumental techniques, namely, light microscopy (LM), scanning electron microscopy-X-ray microanalysis (SEM/EDX), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), voltammetry of microparticles (VMP), X-ray microdiffraction (mXRD), X-ray diffraction (XRD), UVeVis spectrophotometry, FTIR spectroscopy and gas chromatographyemass spectrometry (GCeMS). These instrumental techniques provide reliable and complementary data, such as elemental and mineralogical composition, the identification of functional groups as well as specialization studies of electroactive species.
This paper presents the results obtained at the Laboratories for the Analysis of Works of Art at the University of Valencia (Spain) and the Polytechnic University of Valencia (Spain) after chemically comparing the pigments and mural painting techniques of both Maya archaeological sites.