Precolumbian Jade: New Geological and Cultural by Frederick W. Lange

By Frederick W. Lange


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Extra info for Precolumbian Jade: New Geological and Cultural Interpretations

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Results from this and subsequent work, as well as from the perspective of being a geologist, produced a number of questions and problems with the interpretations of the archaeologists' data. In order to understand the geologic perspective, one must understand something of the nature of jadeite rock. 7. Experimental synthesis has shown that jadeite should form under geologic conditions of unusually high pressure and low temperature, regimes that are rarely preserved in the geologic record. 0 g/cc in an unaltered state).

With respect to the first problem, lithic materials such as obsidian and Page 17 even chert form by processes that sample a large chemical reservoir that is relatively well mixed, providing a stable range of compositions over a large amount of material. Jadeitite, on the other hand, is formed as a chemical alteration of a potentially diverse suite of rocks, involving the chemical heterogeneity of the source and the vagaries of chemical infiltration, reaction, and alteration. Although jadeitites are composed primarily of jadeite with some other characteristic minerals such as albite or white mica, a large number of minerals can be found in many jadeitites as a result of different amounts of jadeitization and subsequent alteration.

Ufindit/unameit? " so that we can understand transportation routes and the social ramifications. Jade type and geologic source are the focus of this chapter. In the early 1980s I began studying jadeite rock (jadeitite) and associated rocks, focusing on the occurrence in the Middle Motagua Valley of Guatemala. There are now sufficient data to understand some of the variability among these rocks (Harlow 1993). In addition, a number of artifacts have been studied with petrologic techniques in order to determine their mineralogy and chemical composition.

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