Making Glass in Colonial Mexico

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Karime Castillo Cárdenas is a Ph.D. candidate in Archaeology at the University of California at Los Angeles. Her presentation addresses the issue of the technological transfer and adaptation.Abstract: The artisans who arrived in the Americas in the sixteenth century encountered several difficulties as they tried to establish their crafts in the New World. Glassmakers in particular, faced numerous challenges because glass technology was not developed in the Americas. Unlike potters or smiths, early colonial glassmakers could not rely on the knowledge of local artisans for finding the raw materials or tools needed to practice their craft in the New World. Nevertheless, colonial glassmakers found ways to adapt to the local resources and the industry flourished in New Spain, predominantly in Mexico City and Puebla. By bringing together archaeology, history, ethnography, and materials science principles and methods, it is possible to explore the processes of technological transfer, adaptation and development of glass production technology in the viceroyalty of New Spain. This talk presents some results of the analysis of glass from the two main glass production centers in Mexico during the Colonial period. To investigate the process of technological transfer, a multi-analytical approach that included optical (PLM) and electron microscopy (SEM-EDS/WDS) as well as mass spectrometry techniques (LA-ICP-MS) was used to investigate the chemical composition of archaeological glass from Mexico City and Puebla, revealing the various ways in which colonial artisans adapted the technology to the resources available in a different land. Historical documents bring to the fore the social aspects of the technology and help to contextualize colonial glass production within the broader scope of Spanish colonialism.  The event is free and open to the public. Sign language interpreters are available upon request, depending availability. Make your request at: by the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. 

Uli Linke
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When and Where
September 26, 2019
10:45 am - 12:15 pm
Room/Location: 1129

Open to the Public