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Applied Optics

Applied Optics


  • Vol. 23, Iss. 24 — Dec. 15, 1984
  • pp: 4471–4476

Olmec magnetite mirror: optical, physical, and chemical characteristics

Valerie F. Olson  »View Author Affiliations

Applied Optics, Vol. 23, Issue 24, pp. 4471-4476 (1984)

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Optical characteristics of a three thousand year old Mexican mirror have been investigated. This artifact, concave, with a convex surround, is made of the iron-ore magnetite. Measurement techniques such as interferometry and total integrated scatter have been used to evaluate figure and surface quality and to validate a recent hypothesis on mirror manufacture. Comparisons are drawn between the study mirror and current metal and crystal optics.

© 1984 Optical Society of America

Original Manuscript: December 24, 1983
Published: December 15, 1984

Valerie F. Olson, "Olmec magnetite mirror: optical, physical, and chemical characteristics," Appl. Opt. 23, 4471-4476 (1984)

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  1. J. B. Carlson, “Olmec Concave Iron-Ore Mirrors: The Aesthetics of a Lithic Technology and the Lord of the Mirror (with an Illustrated Catalogue of Mirrors)” in The Olmec and Their Neighbors (Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collections, (Washington, D.C.1981).
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  6. N. Brown, private communication.

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