Ancestral Pueblo: Greater Upper Rio Grande ValleyNorthern Rio GrandeTaos (Northern Tiwa)Taos Gray WareTaos Incised

Type Name: Taos Incised

Period: 1050 A.D. - 1300 A.D.
Culture: Ancestral Pueblo: Greater Upper Rio Grande Valley
Branch: Northern Rio Grande
Tradition: Taos (Northern Tiwa)
Ware: Taos Gray Ware

First posted by C. Dean Wilson 2013

Gray ware sherds exhibiting granitic tempers indicative of production in the Taos Valley but with incised treatments over plain unpolished surfaces were noted by Mera (1935) and have since been described as Taos Incised (Peckham and Reed 1963; Wetherington 1968). The common occurrence of pottery exhibiting such treatments is a unique characteristic of assemblages in the Taos Valley dating from about A.D. 1050 to 1300.

Pottery assigned to Taos Incised display a range of incised treatments (Levine 1994; Peckham and Reed 1963; Wetherington 1968). One variation is represented by a series of parallel horizontal incised lines along the neck and shoulder. This decoration is similar in appearance, and in some cases may simply represent an additional modification of neckbanded gray ware vessels. Other styles noted for incised sherds from the Taos area include a herringbone pattern consisting of parallel horizontal rows of chevrons. Occasionally both linear and herringbone elements occur in the same vessel. Both squiggle and zigzag lines have also been noted. Also present in low frequencies are series or rows of fingernail shaped incised designs, and were assigned to a distinct Fingernail Indented category. Punctate Gray refers to the present of similar designs as noted for Incised Gray, but decorated by pressing a blunt object into the wet clay to make punctate patterns. While incised decorations over plain surfaces may be occasionally noted for plain gray wares associated with various traditions, the common occurrence of such pottery during the associated span appears to be unique to assemblages in the Taos Valley and may be indicative of influences from Plains pottery traditions to the east. Given the temporal span associated Taos Incised, the production of this type is not related to later incised types such as Potsuwi'i Incised that was produced much later in the Northern Rio Grande region (Wilson and Lewis 2014).

Levine, Daisy F.
1994 Ceramic Analysis. In Studying the Taos Frontier:The Pot Creek Data Recovery Project, Vol. 2: Discussion and Interpretation, edited by J. L. Bowyer, pp. 339–366. Archaeology Notes, 68. Office of Archaeological Studies, Museum of New Mexico, Santa Fe.

Mera, H. P.
1935 Ceramic Clues to the Prehistory of North Central New Mexico. Laboratory of Anthropology Technical Series Bulletin No. 8. Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Peckham, Stewart, and Erik K. Reed
1963 Three Sites near Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico. In Highway Salvage Archaeology, Vol. 4, assembled by S. Peckham, pp. 1–28. New Mexico State Highway Department and Museum of New Mexico, Santa Fe.

Wetherington, Ronald K.
1968 Excavations at Pot Creek Pueblo. Fort Burgwin Research Center Report No. 6, Taos.

Wilson, C. Dean and Candace Lewis
2014 Introduction to Mera’s “Wares Ancestral to Tewa Polychrome”. In Since Mera: The Original Eleven Bulletins, With Essays and Opinions Derived from Recent Research, edited by E. J Brown, R. N. Wiseman and Rory P. Gauthier, pp 89-93. Archaeological Society of New Mexico, Albuquerque.

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