The chemical and mineralogical characterization of seven ceramic fragments produced within Tiwanaku state (c.500–1000 ce) is reported. The instrumental techniques used included X-ray elemental and mineralogical chemical analysis, Raman spectroscopy, and scanning and light microscopy. The results indicate there are several clay types, although they show similarities, such as the use of a plant-based temper. The red colour of the decoration is hematite, and manganese oxides such as jacobsite are present in the black. The white colour is a mixture of gypsum and clay, and the orange is a mixture of hematite and clay. The use of colours, the quality of the clays and the temperatures reached during pottery firing point to expertise in ceramic production and to complex decision-making processes. The multi-elemental archaeometric approach documented here could become an important tool to shed a light on ancient ceramic technology and the internal variance of Tiwanaku pottery.