Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Anthropology

Content Description

1 online resource (xxx, 618 pages) : illustrations (some color), map.

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

John S Justeson

Committee Members

Marilyn A Masson, Dmitri Zagorevski


Archaeometry, Hieroglyphic, Iconography, Maya, Mesoamerica, Pottery, Mayas, Maya pottery, Maya art, Mayan languages

Subject Categories

Chemistry | History of Art, Architecture, and Archaeology | Linguistics


This dissertation presents a multidisciplinary means of determining the actual content (foodstuff, non-foodstuff, or lack of contents) of Classic Mayan (A.D. 250-900) vessels. Based on previous studies that have identified the residues of foodstuffs named in hieroglyphic texts (e.g. cacao), this study is designed to further investigate foodstuff residues in the elite vessels indicated by text or image to contain those residues, and the methods employed for residue characterization. Prior to studies utilizing residue analysis, the content of Classic Maya vessels largely had long been inferred largely by ethnographic analogy, associating specific vessel forms with specific uses based on ethnographic or ethnohistorical descriptions, and more recently by a synthesis of such analogical characterizations with insights from the texts and/or iconographic images adorning many elite vessels. These synthetic interpretations are referred to in this dissertation as analogical characterizations. Scientific verification of such inferences by residue analysis remains underemployed despite recent technological advances.