Discovery of jadeite-jade in Guatemala confirmed by non-destructive Raman microscopy

François Gendron, David C. Smith, Acha Gendron-Badou

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The discovery in 1952 of some river pebbles of jadeite-jade on the North side of the Motagua River Valley (MRV) in Guatemala strongly suggested that at least part of the long-lost geological source of Mesoamerican jade was local. Another river pebble has been discovered, but this new one provides two archaeologically and geologically significant differences: (1) it is the first ever to be found on the South side of the MRV; (2) it presents a new different petrological kind of jade. The confirmation of the mineral species jadeite was achieved with this rough piece of rock without any kind of sample preparation using only a Raman Microscope (RM) which is now reliable polyvalent non-destructive technique for archaeometry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)837-851
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Guatemala
  • Infrared spectroscopy
  • Jade
  • Mesoamerica
  • Motagua River Valley
  • Raman microscopy


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