Abstract

A burial and a rich offering were found under Room 2 in the Murals Building, Bonampak, a Mayan archaeological site situated in Chiapas, Mexico. This burial may be related with the creation of the famous mural paintings. A rich set of jewelry made of green stones was among the different objects found. Green stones have great importance in Mesoamerican cultures, those composed of jadeite being the most appreciated. To characterize the green stones, different spectroscopic techniques were used in a complementary way: Raman and infrared spectroscopies (FT-IR) were used for global mineralogical analysis, while X-ray diffraction (XRD) and X-ray fluorescence (XRF) were applied simultaneously in situ on the artifacts that were not successfully identified by these molecular techniques. In addition, XRF was used to contrasts the elemental information from pieces composed of pyroxenes that may be related to the raw sources of jade in Guatemala. The main minerals identified within the beads and earrings were jadeite with omphacite and jadeite with albite; to a minor extent, quartz, and serpentine. In this paper, the main features of the molecular and X-ray techniques are compared in order to determine the advantages and limitations of these spectroscopies for mineral identification. With this combination of techniques, it was possible to undertake a suitable characterization of the analyzed objects. This paper focuses on the XRD–XRF combined analysis for in situ noninvasive characterization.

© 2019 The Author(s)

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