Geochemical Analysis and Spatial trends of Ceramics and Clay from Angamuco, Michoacán

Document Type


Journal/Book Title

Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports

Publication Date



Elsevier BV



First Page


Last Page



An important aspect of studying ancient empire formation is the role of local political economies throughout imperial fluctuations. Such insight can help us understand how imperial powers may or may not have exerted control over their subjects, and the broader impacts of imperial change on local populations. This study uses geochemical analysis (INAA) of ceramic samples and raw clays from Angamuco, located in the Lake Pátzcuaro Basin, Michoacán. Angamuco was occupied before and throughout the development of the Purépecha Empire (1350–1530 CE) and is thus an important case study for evaluating the impacts of political change on material production and manufacturing. We identify four compositional groups, two of which match previously identified groups elsewhere in the lake basin. We argue that Angamuco ceramics were largely locally produced and that raw material use remained relatively stable over long periods. The results of this study contribute to our understanding of ceramic production processes at Angamuco and will be compared to archaeometric studies in Western Mesoamerica and elsewhere.