Paper No. 260-7
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM
LEAD ISOTOPES AND XRF ANALYSES OF SPANISH COLONIAL BRONZE BELLS FROM THE GALISTEO BASIN, NEW MEXICO
Few elemental and isotopic studies have been conducted on bronze bells recovered from 16th – 17th century Spanish Colonial missions. Mission bells shaped daily life as they not only provided a call to prayer and daily tasks, but also served to reinforce the power dynamics of colonialism. We recently completed a study of 85+ bronze bell fragments from Pueblo San Lazaro, Pueblo San Marcos, Pueblo San Cristóbal, and other sites in the Galisteo Basin of New Mexico. Surface sampling of lead from these bells, followed by isotopic analyses via multiple collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (MC-ICP-MS) allowed us to determine the geologic origin of lead used in the production of these bells (e.g., local, Mexico, or Europe). Elemental analysis using X-ray fluorescence (XRF) facilitated possible identification of different recipes used to cast bronze bells during this era. Unique differences in many elemental concentrations (e.g. arsenic or silver) in conjunction with isotopic data aided in linking individual bell fragments to the “parent” bell from which they originated. Ultimately, this allows for estimates of the minimum number of individuals (MNI) present within our bell fragment sample. Our results further show that these missions were provisioned with bells produced in North America and Europe.