The Use of Plant and Insect Exudates in the American Southwest

Ethnobotany 1
Date and Time: 
Thursday, 17 March, 2016 - 09:15
, Marilen - Arizona State Museum
, Christina - Arizona State Museum
, Nancy - Arizona State Museum

The peoples of the Southwest have long used various plant and insect exudates as an adhesive, putty, coating and paint binder.  These materials include pinyon pine resin, mesquite gum, and insect lac (shellac). The conservation laboratory at the Arizona State Museum completed a survey of these materials in collections using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). In this comprehensive study, over 150 artifacts were analyzed in ASM collections which span from the archaic to historic periods. Results document the earliest known uses of these materials and their continued use and trade through time.  Results also demonstrate selective use based on their chemical and materials properties (solubility, hardness, melting point, etc.). This study discusses these new findings in the context of the materials reported in the early anthropological and ethnobotanical literature.