Paper No. 1-6
Presentation Time: 10:45 AM
ARCHAEOLOGICAL INSIGHTS FROM PETROGRAPHIC ANALYSIS OF CERAMICS FROM THE BOCAS DEL TORO ARCHIPELAGO, PANAMA
Temper compositional trends in archaeological ceramics from the Bocas del Toro province of the Caribbean coast of Panama are preliminarily defined. The forty-three ceramic sherds examined in this study are from surface finds collected from archaeological sites of Red Frog (RF) and Punta Vieja Arriba (PVA) on Bastimentos Island, Cerro Brujo (CB) on the mainland, and excavations from Sitio Drago (SD), on the Isla Colon. Petrographic examinations of thin sections from sherds exhibit seven different groups of temper sand used in ceramic production. Temper compositions of sherds for each group were determined by point-counting representative slides and classifying 200 points per thin section into 14 mineral and rock fragment categories (temper), and two matrix categories (silt and clay). The RF group contains mainly clay rich temper, whereas the others (PVA and CB) contain mainly rock temper with different proportions of quartz, feldspar, dense minerals and various Groups of volcanic lithic fragments. The latter are consistent with derivation form local Panamanian geologic units including one, with pyroclastic temper, from a more volcanically active region speculated to be El Baru Volcano. Some of the archaeological sites (SD and PVA) have a greater variety of temper groups than others, implying that they were more urban settlements than previously anticipated.