Thursday, February 28, 2008

 

Maya Blue

There was an article in the paper today about the mystery of Maya blue pigment being solved. I am probably one of only a few people who would notice or care. It is exciting on a number of levels.
First: I used to be an Mesoamerican Archaeologist who specialized in pottery analysis. Since this blue pigment is found on some pottery I think it is cool to know more about how it was made.

Second: This article pointed out that the discovery was made because of remnants found in vessel that a researcher found in the storage shelves of the Field Museum in Chicago. I also used to be a Museum Registrar. In a time when funding for museums and the arts can be hard to come by, especially for less glamorous projects like appropriate storage and climate control, it is great to have the role of museum objects in new discoveries highlighted. It has long been the argument of museums that their role in preserving and documenting cultural history is as important as new expeditions and excavations. It may even be more important as the ability to do new expeditions becomes more difficult, dangerous and expensive.

Third: It involves two great institutions I care about. The Field Museum in Chicago is a great place and probably one of the reasons I wanted to do arcaeology and museum work in the first place. Wheaton College also in Chicago is a wonderful Christian College and a number of good friends are alumni or current students, one is even in the anthropology department that made this discovery. (Wheatons site has a great longer article too!)

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