Ancestral Pueblo: Southern Colorado Plateau (Anasazi)Eastern (Mountain) AnasaziUpper San JuanUpper San Juan White WareArboles Black-on-white

Type Name: Arboles Black-on-white

Period: 900 A.D. - 1100 A.D.
Culture: Ancestral Pueblo: Southern Colorado Plateau (Anasazi)
Branch: Eastern (Mountain) Anasazi
Tradition: Upper San Juan
Ware: Upper San Juan White Ware

First posted by C. Dean Wilson 2013

Arboles Black-on-white was defined during surveys by the Navajo Reservoir project by Dittert (1961). This type occurs in assemblages assigned to the Arboles phase and represents a local manifestation of Pueblo II white wares (Dittert 1961). This type has a limited geographic distribution since Arboles phase sites are absent in the downstream areas in the Navajo Reservoir District (Reed and Goff 2007; Wilson and Blinman 1993). Arboles Black-on-white occurs in the northernmost areas of the Upper San Juan including the Chimney Rock area, where mineral paint continued to be used during the Pueblo II and possibly into the early part of the Pueblo III periods.

Arboles Black-on-white is similar to Cortez Black-on-white and Mancos Black-on-white of the Northern San Juan region and differs from these types mainly in surface characteristics. Paste color is usually gray to dark gray. Surfaces are slightly polished to unpolished, and they are usually covered with a white to buff slip or wash. The slip is often uneven, and unslipped patches may be visible. Arboles Black-on-white is almost always tempered with crushed igneous rock, sometimes occurring with sand, and dark minerals. Sherd temper is rare but is sometimes present in low proportions. Designs are almost always executed in mineral paint. Designs are similar to those observed on Cortez Black-on-white and Mancos Black-on-white, but they tend to be simple and sloppy. Painted decorations commonly consist of thin widely spaced straight or wavy lines often embellished with ticked lines, triangles, or flagged triangles. Other elements include checkered squares, triangles, and scrolls. A wide variety of forms is represented and includes bowls, jars, dippers, ollas, effigy, and cylinder forms.

Because Arboles Black-on-white may encompass both a wide temporal and stylistic range, it may be possible to subdivide examples of this type into different varieties. Examples exhibiting Red Mesa style or Cortez Black-on-white designs may be assumed to represent an early variety of this type. Those displaying Dogoszhi-style hachure or solid elements that are characteristic of Mancos Black-on-white in the Northern San Juan region can be assigned to a late variety. Arboles Black-on-white tends to be very rare even in areas where this type was produced, since white wares tend to represent an unusually low frequency of pottery in Pueblo II assemblages in the Upper San Juan region.

Dittert, Alfred E. Jr.
1961 An Archaeological Survey of the Navajo Reservoir District. Museum of New Mexico Papers in Anthropology 10. 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

Arboles Black-on-white effigy

Arboles Black-on-white bowl

Arboles Black-on-white cylinder jar

Arboles Black-on-white bowl

Arboles Black-on-white seed jar

Arboles Black-on-white bowl sherds

Arboles Black-on-white jar with handle