What is that Pigment? Surface Analysis of Early Ceramics from Kuntur Wasi, Andes of Peru, by Way of Raman Microscopy and Portable X-Ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy

Author Details

Isabelle C. Druc, Patricia E. Gonzales, Kinya Inokuchi*

Journal Details


Published: 9 November 2020 | Article Type :


Preliminary analyses using Raman microscopy and portable X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (pXRF) were conducted on 21 ceramic fragments to assess the composition of the pigments used by the ancient potters producing for the ceremonial center of Kuntur Wasi (950-50 BC), Department of Cajamarca, in the northern Peruvian highlands. The chemical and mineral analyses evidenced the manipulation of iron oxides to provide for most of the surface colors and painted designs observed. In addition, titanium oxides and calcium were used for obtaining white. Only one sample showed the presence of cinnabar and azurite, as post-firing pigments on a bottle that is suspected to be nonlocal.

Keywords: pigment analysis, Raman, pXRF, archaeology, Andes, Peru.

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