Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Applied Archaeology



First Reader/Committee Chair

Hepp, Guy


The main goal of this study is to provide context and provenance to the Vester

Collection of Mesoamerican artifacts by sourcing the obsidian objects in the collection

through the use of an X-ray fluorescence device. The artifacts were looted by Mr.

Gerhard Vester while he was in Mexico from 1946 – 1953 and are reported to be from

Teotihuac n and the surrounding area. Despite the decontextualized nature of this

collection, it can still provide valuable information. The obsidian artifacts, in particular,

can be used to provide more information on the network of trade systems in Classic

(300 – 950 CE) and Postclassic (950 – 1521 CE) Mesoamerica and on political

relationships in the area. The results of this thesis demonstrate that working with an

‘orphaned’ collection can still provide both research and meaningful information. I

analyzed the artifacts at California State University, San Bernardino using a Thermo

Scientific Niton FXL Field X-ray Lab XRF and created a data table with 23

Mesoamerican obsidian sources. Thirteen of the artifacts were sourced to seven

Mesoamerican obsidian sources.