Characterization of lime carbonates in plasters from Teotihuacan, Mexico: Preliminary results of cathodoluminescence and carbon isotope analyses

Tatsuya Murakami, Gregory Hodgins, Arleyn W. Simon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations


This study characterizes the degree of calcination of lime in lime plaster samples from Teotihuacan, the capital of a regional state in prehispanic Central Mexico. Lime plaster production consists of multiple steps, from the firing of raw materials to the mixing of lime and aggregate and the final application. While previous studies have focused on the compositional variability, specifically the recipe of lime plasters and mortars, the characterization of lime itself has not been sufficiently addressed. In this study, cathodoluminescence analysis coupled with petrographic and image analyses were employed to examine the degree of calcination of lime. The results of cathodoluminescence petrography were further examined through stable carbon isotope and 14C measurements. It appeared that the results of cathodoluminescence analysis are consistent with those of other analytical methods and that there are diachronic changes in the degree of calcination of lime among lime plaster samples. This implies changes in the organization of lime production, specifically the consistency in the control of firing temperature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)960-970
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013



  • Carbon isotopes
  • Cathodoluminescence petrography
  • Firing techniques
  • Image analysis
  • Lime plaster
  • Mesoamerica
  • Radiocarbon measurements
  • Teotihuacan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology

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