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Comparative Spectroscopic Analysis of Maya Wall Paintings from Ek’Balam, Mexico

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 May 2014

A. Alonso
Affiliation:
Área de Conservación Arqueológica, Coordinación Nacional de Conservación del Patrimonio Cultural, Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Mexico DF, Mexico.
N. A. Pérez
Affiliation:
Instituto de Física, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico, Mexico DF, Mexico. e-mail: norari.perez@gmail.com
J. L. Ruvalcaba Sil
Affiliation:
Instituto de Física, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico, Mexico DF, Mexico. e-mail: norari.perez@gmail.com
E. Casanova
Affiliation:
Instituto de Física, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico, Mexico DF, Mexico. e-mail: norari.perez@gmail.com
P. Claes
Affiliation:
Instituto de Física, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico, Mexico DF, Mexico. e-mail: norari.perez@gmail.com
V. Aguilar Melo
Affiliation:
Instituto de Física, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico, Mexico DF, Mexico. e-mail: norari.perez@gmail.com
J. Cañetas
Affiliation:
Instituto de Física, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico, Mexico DF, Mexico. e-mail: norari.perez@gmail.com
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Abstract

The Maya archaeological site of Ek’Balam is located in Yucatán, Mexico. This place is known for its artistic tradition of reliefs modeled in stucco as well as the rich pictorial and hieroglyphic texts. Although the mural played a key role in the artistic program architectural of elite groups, most of these remains have not been studied, either by its incomplete or fragile condition, or by localization in inaccessible substructures.

In this study, technical aspects of the mural paintings from rooms 12 and 50 of the main building of the site are addressed by the spectroscopic analysis of its materials. Optical microscopy was used to observe the layers superposition and pigment distribution, while the stucco and rock support were characterized by X-ray Diffraction (XRD) and X-ray Fluorescence (XRF). Moreover, the chromatic palette composed of different colors and tones of red, yellow, orange, green, blue and black were analyzed mainly with non-invasive techniques using Raman and FTIR spectroscopies as well as XRF.

The information obtained from the combination of these analytical techniques, allowed a better understanding of the similarities and differences between these two rooms that were built during the last construction stage of the Acropolis. These results were also compared with previous analyses of mural painting of this site and other Maya paintings.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Materials Research Society 2014 

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References

Zona arqueológica Ek’ Balam, CONACULTA-INAH. http://www.inah.gob.mx/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=6032
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