This web site would have not been possible without the contributions and support of many, some of whom we can still personally thank and others that, unfortunately, we cannot.

The Pottery Makers: The People and Their Descendants

Obviously, the most important contributors to a web site devoted to the native pottery of New Mexico and adjacent areas of the Southwest are the creators and users of the many forms of pottery described, as well as to their descendents who continue many of their pottery traditions to this day. The fact that we do not know the names or other particulars about most of the makers of this pottery does not make their contribution and legacy any less important.

While the amount of the different pottery forms long-produced across the Southwest may seem immense, it is not infinite, and pottery from intact contexts is rapidly decreasing. It is critical that the places, legacy, and continuing way of life of the pottery makers be understood, appreciated, respected, and preserved. This pottery lives on not only as an immeasurable gift to the native people of the Southwest, but to all of humanity. This pottery can be appreciated for both its aesthetic beauty and technological qualities, and it includes forms that still elude a complete understanding. Pattern types exhibited by this pottery convey important lessons about coping with the often harsh and changing enviroments of the Southwest through technological innovations and relationships and strategies between groups with different identities and belief systems.

Objective studies of pottery and other material cultures through typological classification and other tools represent one of many ways to accumulate and convey the stories of these many Native American traditions, stories about a remarkable place and incredible people who continue to make this world better and more interesting. We hope that together the different stories will provide lessons for all of us, insights that contribute to the survival of the cultural legacy, ways of life, landscapes, and complex and connected systems of the Southwest.

While some past knowledge is gone forever and cannot be replaced, others have somehow endured, but many of these are in great danger.

What has happened in the past matters, and we are all connected. The pottery makers have provided a path to help us make and understand such connections.

New Mexico’s Archeological Legacy

Information about the classification of pottery presented within this web site has been made possible and has been shaped by over a century of research and preservation efforts by archaeologists and other scholars in New Mexico and adjacent areas of the Southwest. Our understanding of the archaeology of New Mexico has continued to progress through the tireless research of a long line of archaeologists.

Edgar Lee Hewett, founder and director of the Museum of New Mexico, played an important role in the American Antiquities act of 1906 and conducted excavations of villages scattered across the state. Hewett helped establish archaeology-based National Parks and Monuments and encouraged Maria Martinez, the renowned potter from San Ildefonso Pueblo, in her contribution to modern Pueblo pottery making.

Another important figure was Alfred V. Kidder, who began field work in 1907 and was one of the first archaeologists to define pottery types based on investigations from sites in the upper Pecos Valley, the Santa Fe Valley, and the Pajarito Plateau. Kidder produced the first detailed synthesis of Southwest archaeology and was largely responsible for the Pecos classification system which has long been used to temporally organize ceramic and other archaeological data.

Another important archaeologist was Harry P. Mera, a former public health physician, who became the first curator of the Laboratory of Anthropology in 1930. Mera’s contributions included detailed recording and mapping of sites and the creation of ceramic reference collections which are still in use today. His observations resulted in a series of monographs that describe pottery from areas across New Mexico dating through the prehistoric and historic periods.

New Mexico Department of Transportation

The creation of this web site was made possible through the efforts of Blake Roxlau and Laurel Wallace of the environmental program of the New Mexico Department of Transportation who recognized the long-term benefits of developing this web site. Their goal has been to invest in improving the quality and efficiency of cultural resource studies in New Mexico by facilitating the creation of a common informational foundation that can be built on by archaeologists throughout the state.

Department of Cultural Affairs

Doug Patinka is responsible for the creation and operation of this web site. He has made this web site possible through his vision, computer programming, and his ability to both elicit immediate needs and goals while anticipating future growth and development of the site.

Much of the initial programming and organization of the web site was provided by student intern Rianne Trujillo.

Museum of Indian Arts and Culture

The staff of the Archaeological Research Collections (ARC) of the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture/Laboratory of Anthropology, under the direction of Julia Clifton, lent invaluable support to this project.

Through the extensive and diligent efforts of Dody Fugate we were provided with access to the Mera Collections and their extensive pottery type collections. The ARC staff also facilitated the photography of most of the vessels used as illustrations in the first release of this site.

Student intern Jonathan Lujan photographed type examples from the MIAC ceramic type collections.

Museum of New Mexico, Office of Archaeological Studies

Dean Wilson: My archaeological career has largely focused on Southwest pottery, beginning with training and experience at Eastern New Mexico University on projects directed by Cynthia Irwin Williams and under the supervision of Hayward Franklin who provided my first exposure to ceramic analysis. Following that, nine years of contract archaeology in the Four Corners region began with the Dolores Archaeological Program where additional training in ceramic analysis of Mesa Verde types benefited from the influence of David A. Breternitz and William A. Lucius.

In 1989 I joined the Museum of New Mexico’s contract archaeology program (now the Office of Archaeological Studies). My growth as an archaeologist has benefited by working with individuals associated with our progam including: Eric Blinman, Wolky Toll, Steven Post, Steve Lakatos, Rick Montoya, Chuck Hannaford, Regge Wiseman, Stewart Peckham and many others. Two-and-a-half decades at OAS have broadened my experience to include the diverse ceramic traditions across New Mexico.

Eric Blinman’s suppoprt and involvement with this web site has been critical in terms of guidance and contributions. This reflects one of many endeavors in which we have participated together that began with focus on the massive amount of pottery recovered during the Dolores Archaeological Project in the late 1970s and early 1980s during which Eric focused on management and interpretation of the vast amounts of pottery data that were generated. Eric also brings a resource and technological perspective to pottery typology through his experience with replication. He helped choreograph the mix of resources that have supported the development of the web site and has provided invaluable guidance relating to organizational and content decisions.


The majority of the photos used in the first release were taken by volunteers including Carol Price, Mimi Burling, Kathy McRee, Dennis Brandt, and Daisy Levine. Pat Klock reviewed and edited many of the descriptions in this website.