Southern Plains

Culture Name: Southern Plains

First posted by C. Dean Wilson 2014

The recognition, classification, and description of pottery types associated with Plains rather than Southwestern cultural groups for a scheme based solely on pottery types found within New Mexico is problematic given the very limited geographic distribution, general rarity, and lack of descriptions of Plains types from sites in New Mexico. It is hoped that in the long-run, the document presented here can contribute to a discussion and description of Plains pottery types that may occur in eastern New Mexico as well as the distinction of these types from pottery found in these areas that may have been produced by Pueblo or Athapaskan group. Thus, far we have not yet attempted to define or describe Plains types that may occur in New Mexico, but it is hoped that this document can serve as an impetus for the presentation and organization of information about these types using approaches similar to that presented for pottery described for the other culture areas discussed.

Pottery clearly produced by Plains group are expected to be extremely rare, and most the very little pottery associated with hunting camps across the Llano Estacado and Caprock Canyons in western Texas represent trade wares from Pueblo regions to the east (Perttula and Lintz 1995). We welcome any contributions or feedback relating to the description and organization of Plains types. Our expectations regarding the identification of plains pottery types that may be encountered in the eastern portions of this state are so far mainly based on descriptions and discussions of pottery from adjacent areas to the east and northeast in other states. One characteristic that seems to be useful in the identification of pottery associated with plains traditions is the presence of exterior impressions resulting from cord mark finishing indicative of a widespread technique of construction consisting of rolling with a thin cord-wrapped paddle or dowel-like instrument against an interior hand anvil (Ellwood 1995). For example, types exhibiting similar characteristics as described for Borger Cordmark in sites attributed to the Antelope Creek focus in areas of the Texas Panhandle along the drainages of the Canadian River, and seem to occur in areas of the Canadian drainage in New Mexico for now. For now, while blank spaces unfortunately follow this discussion on Plains pottery, we hope to remedy this situation; we appreciate any information relating to the occurrence and identifications Plains pottery from sites in New Mexico.

Related Branches