Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2015


Candeleros are ceramic artifacts produced in ancient Mesoamerica that contain circular chambers, often with vents. They are found primarily at Teotihuacan and in southeast Mesoamerica at Copan and at sites in northwest Honduras with styles varying widely by region. Due to evidence of burning and sooting in chambers, they are thought to be incense burners. The collection of candeleros studied here comes from the Naco and lower Cacaulapa valleys of northwest Honduras and dates to the Late (600-800 CE) and Terminal Classic (800-1000 CE). These artifacts vary from 4-10cm in diameter or larger with bigger examples having more chambers. Most are 3-5.2cm in height and their chambers average 3.2cm deep and 1.7cm in diameter (see Figs. 1-3). Little research has been done on candeleros and most focuses on description and typology. This project represents the only experimental attempt to follow the life of candeleros from production to use. It was hypothesized that fingers and sticks of some kind were easily used to create the chambers and that charcoal was used in the chambers to smoke copal resin.