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Settlement research at Copán, Honduras, since 1984 has produced the largest set of obsidian-hydration dates from excavated contexts available for Mesoamerica (Webster and Freter 1990). Braswell has incorrectly characterized the Copan Obsidian Hydration Dating Project’s methodology, and makes many factual errors in assessing the Copán data.

Geoffrey Braswell (1992) has criticized the methodology underlying our research, specific associations of our published data, and particularly our reconstruction of a demographic and political decline at Copán that extended well beyond A. In this paper the authors correct these errors, discuss basic issues of obsidian-hydration-dating methodology, and offer new data from Copán to evaluate the efficacy of hydration dating as a method and its potential future application for Mesoamerica as a whole.

In 1960, Friedman and Smith recognized the obsidian hydration phenomenon and proposed a dating method based on the conversion of the hydration depth to an absolute age.

About every 10 years it becomes necessary to prepare an edited volume by experts in the field of glass studies that reflects new developments and applications in absolute dating and provenance.

The pace of analytical advances and instrument development is rapid, and now more...

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