Ancestral Pueblo: Southern Colorado Plateau (Anasazi)Central AnasaziChuska

Tradition Name: Chuska

First posted by C. Dean Wilson 2013

A wide range of pottery is assigned to gray, white, and red ware types defined for the Chuska tradition based on the presence of crushed sanidine-basalt or trachyte temper that is sometimes also associated with sand or sherd fragments (Reed 1998; Windes 1977). This temper is easily identified by the presence of highly reflective, angular particles that are green, gray, or black in color. These are very crystalline or sugary in appearance. Pottery associated with the Chuska series may also exhibit dark gray or bluish gray pastes.

Stylistically the Chuska series is similar to other types defined for Anasazi tradition. For white ware types, this includes both a mineral painted series that parallels developments noted for Cibola tradition types and organic painted types that parallel developments for Tusayan tradition types produced until the Late Pueblo II period and then Mesa Verde types produced during the Pueblo III period. Chuska types were produced in areas of northeast Arizona and northwest New Mexico along the Chuska Valley and the eastern slope of the Chuska Mountains from the late Basketmaker III through the Pueblo III periods. In addition, pottery assigned to Chuska types dating to the Pueblo II and Pueblo III period commonly occur in sites scattered over wide areas. Chuska types also tend to be very common at sites in Chaco Canyon, where they are known to have widely consumed but not produced. Distributions of both Chuska gray ware and white ware types form the basis for much of the evidence for much of the characterization of distributions systems thought to be indicative of the Chaco network (Toll 1984; 1985l Toll and McKenna 1997; Toll and others 1980).

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