Angela Maria Lucero Bernal (la izquierda) y Ana Milena Melo (la derecha) estudiando copas de cerámica del Proyecto Union del Sur Rumichaca-Pasto Road Project

Analysis of ceramics in Nariño, June 2023

Following REVERSEACTION’s team trip to Colombia in June, Kate Klesner travelled on to Nariño to study some recently excavated ceramic vessels! Working together with a group of local students and archaeologists (including David Alejandro Perez Fernandez, Ana Milena Melo, Angela Maria Lucero Bernal, Felipe Cárdenas, Camila Maya, and Paula Murillo), Kate and the team were able to collect chemical and morphological information on a series of decorated copa vessels, which are large footed cups, recovered from four different archaeological sites in the region. There are three decorated ceramic styles made by pre-Hispanic Colombians in Nariño: Tuza, which has positive painted red and/or brown decoration over a cream slip, Piartal, which has negative black decoration over cream slip with added positive red decoration, and Capulí, which has negative black decoration over a red slip. Little is known about how these complex ceramics were made and decorated, especially how the negative painted decoration was achieved. Kate and the team were able to study copas from the three decorative styles. The compositional and morphologic data will now be used to reconstruct the chaîne opératoire employed in the manufacture of negative painted ceramics to assess the level of standardisation, specialisation, labour, and skill involved in the production of these negative painted wares.


Many thanks to the excellent researchers and supportive teams at the Union del Sur Rumichaca-Pasto Road Project, CESMAG, and the Museo del Oro for sharing their resources, knowledge, and generous hospitality with the REVERSEACTION Project.