Ancestral Pueblo: Southern Colorado Plateau (Anasazi)Eastern (Mountain) AnasaziUpper San JuanUpper San Juan Gray WarePiedra Gray

Type Name: Piedra Gray

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

First posted by C. Dean Wilson 2012

Piedra Gray was defined in Dittert and others (1963). Piedra Gray partially overlaps Rosa Gray and Arboles Gray types as normally defined, and this type seems to be indicative the production of distinct smoothed or polished forms during the Piedra and Arboles phases (Reed and Goff 2007; Wilson and Blinman 1993). Piedra Gray does not ever appear to have been the dominant gray ware form but is consistently present in Piedra phase sites in the Navajo Reservoir area and persists in smaller quantities in Arboles phase assemblages and appears to have been produced from the middle ninth to late tenth century.

Piedra Gay is distinguished from other gray wares produced during this period by the presence of polished surface with striations. Technological and paste characteristics distinguish this type from earlier plain and polished utility types, such as Sambrito Utility and Obelisk Gray. Piedra Gray tends to be harder, thinner, lighter in color, better finished, and more even thicknesses are more even than in earlier types. Pastes are usually gray to light gray. Surface colors may be a bluish white, and firing appears to have been well-controlled and to have reached high temperatures similar to that noted in contemporaneous white ware types. Temper consists of angular white to gray igneous rock. A minority of plain polished sherds may be brown and includes Piedra Brown as used by Eddy [1966]), but the brown color seems to be the result of accidental oxidation of high-iron clays; another polished type does not seem to be warranted. Body sherds from Piedra Gray are indistinguishable from some unpainted and unslipped body sherds of early white ware vessels, and they should be classified as Polished White or Piedra Body rather than implying the presence of Piedra Gray. Seed jars and pitchers are most likely to have been polished, and thus included in this type. Thus, Piedra Gray seems to represent the utilization of distinct technological conventions in the production of certain unpainted vessel forms.

Dittert, Alfred E., Beth L. Dickey and Frank W. Eddy
1963 Excavations at Sambrito Village, Navajo Reservoir District. Museum of New Mexico Papers in Anthropology, New Mexico of New Mexico Press, Santa Fe.

Eddy, Frank W.
1966 Prehistory of the Navajo Reservoir District, Northwestern New Mexico. Museum of New Mexico Papers in Anthropology 15. Santa Fe.

Reed, Lori and Joel Goff
2007 A Field Guide to Upper San Juan Anasazi and Navajo Pottery. Prepared for the NMAC Ceramic Workshop, Farmington District Office,Document on file, Bureau of Land Management, Farmington.

Wilson, C. Dean, and Eric Blinman
1993 Upper San Juan Ceramic Typology. Office of Archaeological Studies Archaeology Notes 80, Santa Fe.

Related Photos

Piedra Gray jar with handle

Piedra Gray jar with handle

Piedra Gray jar with handle