Petro-mineralogy and geochemistry as tools of provenance analysis on archaeological pottery: Study of Inka Period ceramics from Paria, Bolivia

V. Szilágyi, J. Gyarmati, M. Tóth, H. Taubald, M. Balla, Zs Kasztovszky, Gy Szakmány

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19 Citations (Scopus)


This paper summarized the results of comprehensive petro-mineralogical and geochemical (archeometrical) investigation of Inka Period ceramics excavated from Inka (A.D. 1438-1535) and Late Intermediate Period (A.D. 1000/1200-1438) sites of the Paria Basin (Dept. Oruro, Bolivia). Applying geological analytical techniques we observed a complex and important archaeological subject of the region and the era, the cultural-economic influence of the conquering Inkas in the provincial region of Paria appearing in the ceramic material.According to our results, continuity and changes of raw material utilization and pottery manufacturing techniques from the Late Intermediate to the Inka Period are characterized by analytical methods. The geological field survey provided efficient basis for the identification of utilized raw material sources. On the one hand, ceramic supply of both eras proved to be based almost entirely on local and near raw material sources. So, imperial handicraft applied local materials but with sophisticated imperial techniques in Paria. On the other hand, Inka Imperial and local-style vessels also show clear differences in their material which suggests that sources and techniques functioned already in the Late Intermediate Period subsisted even after the Inka conquest of the Paria Basin. Based on our geological investigations, pottery supply system of the Paria region proved to be rather complex during the Inka Period.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of South American Earth Sciences
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2012



  • Archaeological application
  • Bolivia
  • Geochemistry
  • Inka period pottery
  • Petrography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Earth-Surface Processes

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