Preclassic Mesoamerican dental inlays: study of the raw material by SEM–EDS

Andrea Sandoval Molina, Yoshiyuki Iizuka, Shintaro Suzuki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Dental modifications, especially dental inlays, were one of the most characteristic biocultural traditions in Ancient Mesoamerica. The main objective of this brief report is to identify the raw material used to elaborate dental inlays in the archaeological site of Reynosa, located in the Southern Pacific Coast of Guatemala. The recent discovery of a massive burial, dated roughly in the Middle-Late Preclassic Period (500 BC–200 BC), put the site in the spotlight. There were found some of the earliest carriers of dental incrustations in Mesoamerica, which represent part of the beginning of the inlay tradition. The analytical method used to determine the raw material was scanning electron microscopy (SEM) with X-ray spectroscopy. The identified raw materials were pyrite and hematite. These findings have opened new concerns about the obtaining and the usage of those materials in this millennial tradition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-163
Number of pages7
JournalScience and Technology of Archaeological Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 16 2019


  • Dental inlay
  • Guatemala
  • Mesoamerica
  • Pacific Coast
  • Preclassic
  • Scanning Electron Microscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology


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