Abstract

Optical characteristics of a three thousand year old Mexican mirror have been investigated. This artifact, concave, with a convex surround, is made of the iron-ore magnetite. Measurement techniques such as interferometry and total integrated scatter have been used to evaluate figure and surface quality and to validate a recent hypothesis on mirror manufacture. Comparisons are drawn between the study mirror and current metal and crystal optics.

© 1984 Optical Society of America

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References

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  1. J. B. Carlson, “Olmec Concave Iron-Ore Mirrors: The Aesthetics of a Lithic Technology and the Lord of the Mirror (with an Illustrated Catalogue of Mirrors)” in The Olmec and Their Neighbors (Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collections, (Washington, D.C.1981).
  2. C. Palanche, H. Berman, C. Frondel, The Dana System of Mineralogy, Vol. 1 (Wiley, New York, 1966).
  3. J. W. Peres-Ferreira, “Formative Mesoamerican Exchange Networks with Special Reference to the Valley of Oaxaca,” Memoirs of the Museum of Anthropology, Vol. 3 (U. Michigan, Ann Arbor, 1975), Number 7.
  4. R. D. Waldron, “Infrared Spectra of Ferrites,” Phys. Rev. 99, 1727 (1955).
    [CrossRef]
  5. K. G. Kumanin, Ed., Generation of Optical Surfaces (Focal Library, London, 1967).
  6. N. Brown, private communication.

1955 (1)

R. D. Waldron, “Infrared Spectra of Ferrites,” Phys. Rev. 99, 1727 (1955).
[CrossRef]

Berman, H.

C. Palanche, H. Berman, C. Frondel, The Dana System of Mineralogy, Vol. 1 (Wiley, New York, 1966).

Brown, N.

N. Brown, private communication.

Carlson, J. B.

J. B. Carlson, “Olmec Concave Iron-Ore Mirrors: The Aesthetics of a Lithic Technology and the Lord of the Mirror (with an Illustrated Catalogue of Mirrors)” in The Olmec and Their Neighbors (Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collections, (Washington, D.C.1981).

Frondel, C.

C. Palanche, H. Berman, C. Frondel, The Dana System of Mineralogy, Vol. 1 (Wiley, New York, 1966).

Palanche, C.

C. Palanche, H. Berman, C. Frondel, The Dana System of Mineralogy, Vol. 1 (Wiley, New York, 1966).

Peres-Ferreira, J. W.

J. W. Peres-Ferreira, “Formative Mesoamerican Exchange Networks with Special Reference to the Valley of Oaxaca,” Memoirs of the Museum of Anthropology, Vol. 3 (U. Michigan, Ann Arbor, 1975), Number 7.

Waldron, R. D.

R. D. Waldron, “Infrared Spectra of Ferrites,” Phys. Rev. 99, 1727 (1955).
[CrossRef]

Phys. Rev. (1)

R. D. Waldron, “Infrared Spectra of Ferrites,” Phys. Rev. 99, 1727 (1955).
[CrossRef]

Other (5)

K. G. Kumanin, Ed., Generation of Optical Surfaces (Focal Library, London, 1967).

N. Brown, private communication.

J. B. Carlson, “Olmec Concave Iron-Ore Mirrors: The Aesthetics of a Lithic Technology and the Lord of the Mirror (with an Illustrated Catalogue of Mirrors)” in The Olmec and Their Neighbors (Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collections, (Washington, D.C.1981).

C. Palanche, H. Berman, C. Frondel, The Dana System of Mineralogy, Vol. 1 (Wiley, New York, 1966).

J. W. Peres-Ferreira, “Formative Mesoamerican Exchange Networks with Special Reference to the Valley of Oaxaca,” Memoirs of the Museum of Anthropology, Vol. 3 (U. Michigan, Ann Arbor, 1975), Number 7.

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Figures (6)

Fig. 1
Fig. 1

Olmec concave mirror.

Fig. 2
Fig. 2

Areas of the Olmec mirror studied.

Fig. 3
Fig. 3

Olmec mirror: reflectance vs wavelength (visible).

Fig. 4
Fig. 4

Olmec mirror: reflectance vs wavelength (infrared).

Fig. 5
Fig. 5

Tool marks (20 μm wide).

Fig. 6
Fig. 6

Intersection of concave and convex surfaces.

Tables (3)

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Table I Magnetite Series (Index of Refraction Data are Included for Reference)

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Table II Infrared Spectral Frequencies of Ferrites

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Table III Scatter Summary

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