University of Calgary
UofC Navigation

Preliminary Analysis

Submitted by mccaffer on Fri, 03/07/2008 - 3:08pm

By Geoffrey McCafferty (2008)

Following the excavation phase of the field school, Wolfman and his students conducted preliminary analyses on a sample of the ceramics and other objects from the investigation. Analyses consisted of a classification of the pottery into categories derived from Noguera's La Ceramica de Cholula (1954), and classification and quantification of artifact classes. These studies were completed by individual students and compiled in Wolfman's preliminary report (1968). Although the present analysis largely supersedes the preliminary study, the original results will be presented briefly to provide a context for the later analysis.

Ceramic Analysis

The ceramic analysis used a sample of about 40% of the bags recovered from the excavation, from which Wolfman estimated that over 100,000 sherds were collected in all (1968:5). The ceramics were divided into 37 categories based on decorative types, vessel form, and vessel part (e.g., rim, base, support, or handle). Tabulations were not presented in the preliminary report, presumably because Wolfman expected to be able to complete the analysis at a later time (1968:5).

The report did mention that polychrome pottery made up approximately 10% of the sample, with policroma firme (Torre Polychrome) the most common type found. Using the ceramic chronology proposed by Noguera (1954:270-271, 280-281), policroma firme was diagnostic of the Late Postclassic period, or Cholulteca III. Since firme was found sealed between the two floor levels of Structure 1, and found above the floor with some Colonial period glazed wares, Wolfman interpreted Structure 1 as dating to the Contact period, with construction in the pre-Conquest period and abandonment soon after Spanish Contact. Based on the existing ceramic chronology it was impossible to distinguish a temporal difference between the ceramics of Structures 1 and 2, and these were interpreted as being roughly contemporary.

Wolfman (1968:5) acknowledged that the ceramic analysis was preliminary to further investigation of Postclassic ceramic typology. As part of a future stage of the analysis, he proposed to investigate such attributes as paste, temper, color, rim form, and design elements. Unfortunately, funding for further investigation was not granted and the analysis did not continue.

Artifact Analysis

Other objects were subdivided into the general categories of ceramic, stone, and miscellaneous materials, and studied by specific artifact class (e.g., figurines, projectile points, etc.). The preliminary tabulation of objects by material and artifact class is presented in Table 7. Detailed descriptions and reanalysis of these categories are presented in Chapters X and XI.



(after Wolfman 1968:Table 2)


Ceramic Artifacts

Balls 464

Human figurines 139

Zoomorphic figs. 24

Spindle whorls 86

Worked sherds 43

Flutes and whistles 20

Beads 19

Braseros 8+

Earplugs 8

Tubes 4+

Ground Stone Artifacts

Grinding stones

Manos 34

Metates 8

Mortars 3

Pestles 7

Rubbing stones 2

Unknown 3


Knife-edges 9

Polishing stones 5

Celts 5

Axe 1

Stone balls 10

Lip plugs 2

Beads 2

Miscellaneous 2

 Chipped Stone Artifacts

Projectile points 58

Cores 11

Scrapers 17

Knives 6

Chert flakes 583

Obsidian blades 2745

Obsidian flakes 1140

Obsidian tool frags 167

Bone Artifacts

Awls 4

Needles 3

Spindle Whorl 1

Pendant 1

Other 7

Shell Artifacts

Pierced bivalves 3

Pierced gastropods 1

Pendants 2

Tinklers 3

Unknown worked shell 9

Unworked shell 12

Metal Artifacts

Copper ring 1

Post-Conquest 28



Site Admin