Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Obsidian lava flow

Interesting article on how an obsidian lava flow continues to advance and spread, though at a glacial pace, long after the volcanic eruption ends.

I don't have access to the full text of the article, but the link above will take you to the abstract on the journal (Nature Communications) website. Curiously, even without a subscription you can download the four videos in the Supplementary Materials (scroll to the bottom of the page). There is also a nice photo from the article featured on the journal home page.

Here is a link to a popular article about the research accompanied by a nice little explanatory video. I have embedded the video below.

Like many archaeologists, I'm interested in obsidian. It's cool (though not while erupting--see article above), and it makes interesting and sometimes beautiful tools. I'm always looking for more information about its geology because there appear to be undiscovered obsidian sources in Nicaragua, and I would like to find them. Just looking around doesn't seem to be working, so maybe a prediction based on geology or geochemistry would be helpful.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

More on Jaina-Style Figurines

When I recently posted photos of Jaina-style figurines, I did not write an essay on the topic because the purpose of the post was to make photos available for study and education, not to present the results of my research on the subject.

By chance, however, I came upon a new and interesting article on these figurines. Here is the citation in case you want to know more about them:

McVicker, Donald (2012). Figurines are us? The Social Organization of Jaina Island, Campeche, Mexico. Ancient Mesoamerica Volume 23, No. 2, pp. 211-234. doi:10.1017/S0956536112000168

The essay provides a thorough review of the study of Jaina figurines, including information about the collection in the National Museum, where I took most of my photos. McVicker also provides new information and interpretations. I don't agree with all his conclusions, but it's worth a read if you're interested in the subject.

In view of the discussion in the article, I have to admit that my captions on the photos now appear to be naive. At the very least, some of the figurines--or ones similar to them--have been interpreted differently by other scholars, in some cases, for example, as deities. So, I should add the caveats that the captions I supplied were intended merely to be descriptive, that other interpretations exist, and that a true analysis--which I do not claim to have performed--would require additional research, including close inspection of the originals.