Archaeomagnetic dating range
Researchers have related the manufacturing technique of plasters and stucco in the Maya area with their period of production but not with their architectural function.
This risk increases dramatically at Maya sites because limestone with abundant micritic calcite, very similar to that of the mortar matrix, is the dominant component of the aggregates.The analysis of lime mortars in the Maya area is difficult because the minerals (including composition, size, and textures) of aggregates and the binder (referred to in this paper as matrix) are the same or similar, with calcite being their main component, mainly in a micritic form.Thus, we have to carefully select the techniques that allow discrimination between the particles and minerals that belong to the aggregates and those that belong to the matrix.Despite this positive experience we have strong doubts concerning the perspective of wide-scale application of radiocarbon dating to the mortars of the Maya region.The main obstacle for such dating (mentioned by a majority of researchers, including those cited above) consists of contamination of the sample with “dead carbon” from the aggregates presented by calcareous sedimentary rocks.Although archaeometric studies of Maya lime mortars have been conducted since 1950 [1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9], information is scarce regarding production techniques and dating of lime mortars in the region of southern Quintana Roo.
There are some key publications [10,11,12,13,14,15,16] establishing the ways in which the Maya created their plasters, mortars, and stuccoes in a broad way.
There are also studies which investigate the manufacturing technique of particular cases [16,17,18,19,20,21,22,23,24,25].
Among those, only a few used petrography in their studies [14,15,22,23,25].
On the whole, we rely on this combination of methods to establish the spatial variability and temporal evolution of the manufacturing technique of plasters and stuccoes, which are the sole material witnesses for the lime processing know-how of the ancient Mayas.
Dzibanché is a Maya archaeological site in southern Quintana Roo (18°38′18.84″ N 88°45′38.67″ W.
Dzibanché has abundant remains of stuccos and plasters found mainly in three buildings (Plaza Pom, Pequeña Acrópolis, and Structure 2).