Analysis of the context and contents of an Ulua-style marble vase from the Palmarejo Valley, Honduras

E. Christian Wells, Karla L. Davis-Salazar, José E. Moreno-Cortés, Glenn S.L. Stuart, Anna C. Novotny

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Ulúa-style marble vases played important social, political, economic, and religious roles in southern Mesoamerica during the seventh through eleventh centuries A.D. However, most such vessels known to archaeologists are part of looted collections or else were unearthed before the advent of modern archaeological practices. As a result, little is known about the context, use, and chronology of these objects. Recent investigations at the site of Palos Blancos in northwest Honduras discovered an Ulúa-style marble vase in an undisturbed mortuary context. Excavation of the burial context, along with bioarchaeological and stable isotope analysis of the human remains, suggests that the vase was placed as an offering, possibly to an ancestor of the residential group. Phosphate and pollen studies indicate that the vase once held a corn-based beverage. Radiocarbon dating of four charcoal samples from immediately below and adjacent to the vase yielded a range of dates from the beginning of the Late Classic period, ca. A.D. 600-800. Through analyses of the context and contents of the vase, this research contributes to a more holistic understanding of the use and meaning of Ulúa-style marble vases in southern Mesoamerica.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-100
Number of pages19
JournalLatin American Antiquity
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2014


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