Producing Structure: The Role of Ceramic Production in Understanding Chaco-period Communities in the American Southwest
Renewing the Search for Structure - New Frameworks and Techniques in Instrumental Ceramics Analysis - Alan F. Greene
Andrew I Duff [+]
Washington State University
Pottery assemblages from two neighboring Chaco-period (AD 1050-1130) communities in west-central New Mexico are used to explore several different components of community organization. These communities are located at the interface of two of the American Southwest’s primary archaeological culture areas—Mogollon and Pueblo—and pottery assemblages include vessels attributed to both. The primary question asked of these assemblages is if they were locally produced by coresiding groups of people who came from different regions and if they continued to reproduce vessels using the conventions of their homelands. Decorated pottery is used to assess the contemporaneity, and then attributes of the unpainted pottery assemblage—coil thickness and indentation frequency, are used to assess if manufacturing traditions differ by wares attributed to each culture area. Thickness and apparent porosity measures are used to explore vessel function, and oxidation analyses are used to assess clays used in vessel manufacture. Combined, these analyses suggest that groups from two distinct manufacturing traditions coresided within these communities, and that they manufactured unpainted jars using the conventions of their areas of origin, and that they continued to do so throughout the histories of these communities. This served to reproduce an element of difference in items used daily, while larger scales of social action signal greater communal unity; both processes are argued to be accurate reflections and embodiments of social relations.