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Society for American Archaeology

A Teotihuacan-Style Vessel from Tikal: A Correction

Author(s): Virginia Greene and Hattula Moholy-Nagy
Source: American Antiquity, Vol. 31, No. 3, Part 1 (Jan., 1966), pp. 432-434
Published by: Society for American Archaeology
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432 AMERICANANTIQUITY [ VOL. 31, No. 3, 1966

to fall within the 17th century. Until the kiln is exca- INCREASED archaeological activity in the Valley of
vated in some detail, we will not know at precisely what Mexico and the Lowland Maya areas has renewed inter-
point in the history of the Old City of Panama the kiln est in evidences of contact between the two regions dur-
was in use. It is notable, however, that the stratigraphic ing the Early Classic period, particularly on the Teoti-
sequences from the vicinity of the cathedral contain huacan III-Tzakol 3-Esperanza horizon.
Spanish majolica types which occur in other dated Span- This interest, for example, has been reflected recently
ish assemblages in the New World. At a point about in the revised edition of Marquina's (1964) important
halfway up the stratigraphic column these types are architectural compendium, in which Fig. 17, on page
replaced by types known tentatively as Panama Poly- 1005, illustrates part of the design from a pottery vessel
chrome majolica and a plain white with greenish tinge. excavated in 1959 at the Lowland Maya site of Tikal,
The former is a type long recognized by Goggin as occur- Guatemala.
ring in some quantity in the Panamanian Spanish settle- This vessel, a large, shallow, black-slipped, cylindrical
ments, but not precisely dated. We feel that this repre- tripod bowl with an exterior band-design in plano-relief
sents a synthesis, in Panama, of the Spanish majolica (Figs. 1, 2), formed part of the contents of a redeposited
tradition, and the evidence from the kiln indicates that burial. This problematical deposit also included other
it was made locally. This evidence consists of spatterings pottery vessels approximately equivalent to the Tzakol 3
of majolica enamel on the insides of some of the sagger phase of the Uaxactun ceramic sequence. The form
covers as well as underfired examples of majolica plates of the vessel and the elements of the design and manner
and bowls. These are typical waster materials that repre- of its execution exhibit a blending of Maya and Teoti-
sent discarded and unsuccessful firings at the site where huacan styles.
the pots were manufactured. We hope that complete We would like to point out that the illustration pub-
analysis of these materials, as well as more detailed lished by Marquina is not fully accurate. It is a reduced
explorations of the kiln site when this becomes possible, copy of a preliminary drawing, part of which was trans-
will result in precise dating of the kiln, of the manufac- posed and used as the cover design for an issue of the
ture of majolica in the Old City of Panama, and of the University Museum's nontechnical bulletin, Expedition
manufacture of feldspar-inlaid earthenware in Panama (University Museum 1960). This same cover design,
during the Spanish colonial period. with the two parts now placed in correct order, was also
It is clear that this type represents a rather easily republished by Disselhoff and Linne (1960, Fig. 63).
defined and recognized style of pottery from the Iberian There may well be other instances which have not come
peninsula. It is hoped that additional work in Spain, to our attention.
Portugal, Kenya, and Mesoamerica will provide a better In 1964, Greene had the opportunity to correct and
chronological framework for this pottery type. It would redraw the vessel design (Fig. 3). Because the pot was
seem that such a distinctive decorative technique would in very poor condition -differentially weathered (Fig.
be easy to trace both in the literature and in sherds 2), secondarily burned, and missing several pieces -the
from the sites involved. We are sure that additional corrected drawing is primarily based upon a large num-
investigation of Spanish and Mesoamerican literature ber of rubbings and a few photographs. There is some
will reveal additional information on this type. In the vertical compression to accommodate the slight inward
curvature of the vessel walls. Since it was felt that under-
meantime we will appreciate any information that any-
drawing was preferable to interpolation, several doubtful
one can give us about its association with native His-
areas of the design were left blank.
panic-American wares, with colonial Spanish sites in the
We believe that this vessel has considerable potential
New World, and with potteries in the Iberian peninsula,
importance in the efforts to interpret the extent and
or its occurrence as a folk ceramic in modern Hispanic nature of contacts between the Valley of Mexico and the
America. Maya area. Furthermore, there is in the archaeological
Gainesville, Florida
January, 1965


Another publication of the uncorrected, transposed,
and incomplete design layout of an important Teotihua- FIG. 1 [GREENE AND MOHOLY-NAGY]. Combined sec-
can-style pottery vessel from the Maya Lowlands has tion and elevation of a Teo*tihuacan-style pottery vessel
prompted this publication of the corrected and complete from Tikal, Guatemala. Catalog number IOE-52. Rim
version. diameter, about 33 cm.

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_ ;

FIG.2 [GREENEANDMOHOLY-NAGY]. Detail of vessel exterior showing the piano-relief decorative technique
and differential weathering. The figure shown here is labeled G on the layout (Fig. 3).


1 2 3

F:IG.3 [GREENEANDMOHOLY-NAGYJ. Complete and corrected layout drawing of the vessel illustrated in Figs. 1
and 2. The letters and numbers are for ease of reference. Total rim length, about 103 cm.

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434 AMERICANANTIQUITY [ VOL.31, No. 3, 1966

literature an unfortunate tendency to perpetuate certain by tests for natural radioactivity of bone found in situ
statements and illustrations, even though they may be in the cemented sand, bone from an element of the
incorrect. We herewith publish the corrected version of fauna, and bone from the arenaceous silt (Jelinek 1960:
the Tikal vessel design with the hope that this version, 933).
and not the previously published one, will become a A close examination of the artifact from the disturbed
reference point for future work on this important ques- sands has revealed traces of a similar cemented sand
tion. adhering to abrupt flake scars on one surface.
The point is made from silicified wood, measures 4.3
1960 The Art of Ancient America. Art of the World Series. cm. in length, 3.4 cm. in width, and is 1.8 cm. thick.
Crown, Inc., New York.
1964 Arquitectura prehispanica. Memorias del Instituto Na-
cional de Antropologia e Historia, No. 1. Mexico.
1960 Expedition. Bulletin of the University Museum of the
University of Pennsylvania. Vol. 2, No. 2. Philadelphia.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
January, 1965

A crude stone point from a gravel pit near Wichita ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~. . .. . :. .. . ..

Falls, Texas, is tentatively associated with a Wisconsin

vertebrate fauna from the same locality on the basis of
.. .. : cr.....

adhering cemented sand.

THE BIFACIAL point illustrated here (Fig. 1) was dis-

covered in August, 1955, at a gravel pit owned by the
Foley Sand and Gravel Company of Wichita Falls, Texas,
about 7 mi. northeast of Wichita Falls on a low terrace
of the Wichita River. At the time when the point was
discovered I was visiting the site to examine the stratig-
raphy associated with a group of Late Pleistocene verte-
brates (Jelinek 1960). The artifact was found in a deposit
of disturbed sand (resulting from quarrying operations)
by Walter W. Dalquest of Midwestern University, who
gave it to me at that time.
Although the point was peculiar in its crudeness and
vaguely suggested a lanceolate form, its disturbed con-
text seemed to offer little promise for association with the
stratigraphy, and it was stored for several years. How-
ever, a recent detailed examination has indicated that
this artifact may well be derived from the deposits which
yielded the vertebrate fauna.
The exposed section at this locality consisted of a
basal deposit of waterlaid sand and gravel overlaid by
approximately 8 ft. of reddish arenaceous silt. From the
point of contact between these two deposits to a maxi-
mum depth of about 1.5 ft. below the contact, areas of
local cementation were observed. The cemented deposits
of sand are frequently a deep red color which contrasts
with the overlying lighter red silts. Almost all elements
of the vertebrate fauna show evidence of derivation from
this zone in the form of heavy incrustations of cemented FIG.1 [JELINEK]. Chipped stone point from gravel
sand. This stratigraphic association was substantiated pit near Wichita Falls, Texas.

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