Ancestral Pueblo: Southern Colorado Plateau (Anasazi)Central AnasaziNorthern San JuanNorthern San Juan Gray WareMancos Gray

Type Name: Mancos Gray

Period: 850 A.D. - 975 A.D.
Culture: Ancestral Pueblo: Southern Colorado Plateau (Anasazi)
Branch: Central Anasazi
Tradition: Northern San Juan
Ware: Northern San Juan Gray Ware

First posted by C. Dean Wilson 2012

Mancos Gray was defined by Abel (1955). This type is distinguished from other Northern San Juan gray wares by the presence of obliterated or emphasized coil junctures. Mancos Gray exhibits traits similar to those noted for Coconino Gray of the Kayenta traditions and Tohatchi Neckbanded of the Cibola tradition. For the Chuska tradition, Mancos Gray is analogous to Gray Hills Banded sherds, and some Captain Tom Corrugated sherds. Mancos Gray appears as a minority of Neckbanded sherds as early as A.D. 850, and it is consistently present after A.D. 860 over most of the Mesa Verde region (Blinman 1988). It increases in abundance relative to Moccasin Gray through the end of the ninth century, and it is the dominant gray ware type during the first half of the tenth century. The slow replacement of this type by corrugated gray wares begins by A.D. 930, and corrugated gray wares are more abundant by at least A.D. 975.

Clapboarded treatments were created by overlapping coil junctions, but careful preservation of rounded coils or an incision between coils are also common means of emphasizing Mancos Gray neckbands (Breternitz and others 1974; Oppelt 1992; Rohn 1977; Wilson and Blinman 1995). Neckbands tend to be narrower than those of Moccasin Gray, and appear to be due primarily to change in coil size selection through time, regardless of coil juncture configuration. The range in height of neckbanded treatments appears to have gradually decreased through time. Mancos Gray neckbands were primarily constructed by the addition of concentric coils, but spiral coiling has been observed. One point of confusion in the classification of Mancos Gray sherds results from the use of patterned corrugations on some corrugated gray ware vessels. The patterns are produced by alternating between unindented and indented coils during the construction of the vessels, resulting in areas of the vessel wall that are clapboarded. If all clapboarded sherds are accepted as Mancos Gray without regard to their distribution across a vessel, the temporal range of Mancos Gray sherds will be extended long after production of Mancos Gray vessels. This effect can be minimized by restricting the definition of the type to include only emphasized coils that occur on portions of the vessel above the shoulder. Some sherds from the necks of corrugated vessels will still be classified as Mancos Gray, but the amount of noise in the ceramic data will be minimized. The overwhelming majority of sherds assigned to Mancos Gray are derived from wide-mouthed cooking or storage jars. Neck coils on these jars extend from the rim to the shoulder, and Mancos Gray jar necks are often flared rather than stacked. The only other Mancos Gray vessels are rare cases of ollas that have either emphasized coil junctures just below the rim or at the shoulder.

Abel, Leland J.
1955 San Juan Red Ware, Mesa Verde Gray Ware, Mesa Verde White Ware and San Juan White Ware, Pottery Types of the Southwest: Wares 5A, 10A, 10B, 12A. Museum of Northern Arizona Ceramic Series 3B, Flagstaff.

Blinman, Eric
1988 The Interpretation of Ceramic Variability: A Case Study from the Dolores Anasazi. Ph.D. dissertation, Department of Anthropology, Washington State University, Pullman.

Breternitz, David A., Arthur H. Rohn, Jr., and Elizabeth A. Morris
1974 Prehistoric Ceramics of the Mesa Verde Region. Museum of Northern Arizona Ceramic Series 5, Flagstaff.

Oppelt, Norman T.
1992 Earth Water Fire: The Prehistoric Pottery of Mesa Verde. Johnson Books, Boulder.

Rohn, Arthur H.
1977 Cultural Change and Continuity on Chapin Mesa. Regents Press, Lawrence.

Wilson, C. Dean, and Eric Blinman
1995 Ceramic Types of the Mesa Verde Region. In Archaeological Pottery of Colorado: Ceramic Clues to the Prehistoric and Protohistoric Lives of the State's Native Peoples, edited by R.H. Brunswig, B. Bradley, and S.M. Chandler, pp. 33-88. Colorado Council of Archaeologists Occasional Papers 2, Denver.

Related Photos

Mancos Gray jars