Ancestral Pueblo: Greater MogollonMogollon HighlandsMogollon-MimbresMimbres Decorated / White WareThree Circle Red-on-white

Type Name: Three Circle Red-on-white

Period: 700 A.D. - 900 A.D.
Culture: Ancestral Pueblo: Greater Mogollon
Branch: Mogollon Highlands
Tradition: Mogollon-Mimbres
Ware: Mimbres Decorated / White Ware

First posted by C. Dean Wilson 2012

Three Circle Red-on-white was defined by Haury (1936). This type refers to the earliest white ware produced in the Mogollon region, and appears to reflect forms that developed directly out of Mogollon Red-on-brown. Three Circle Red-on-white is distinguished from earlier painted types by the presence of a white slip and bridges the gap between the earliest Mogollon Red-on-brown painted pottery and Mimbres White Ware (Haury 1936; Martin and Rinaldo 1950; Wilson 1999).

Paste cross sections tend to be slightly redder than in other Mogollon slipped white painted types, indicating these sherds may have been exposed to a slightly more oxidizing atmosphere than other types associated with this tradition. Exterior surfaces of bowls and interior surface of jars are usually not slipped and brown to red. The white slipped surface often contrasts dramatically with the brown ware paste and tends to be buff to white and is often chalky in appearance. Slips also tend to be soft and often flake off. The slip is sometimes crackled, and most examples of Three Circle Red-on-white from sites examined during the Luna Project exhibit small glittery (mica) fragments (Wilson 1999). Similar fragments are present in weathered tuff deposits in this area, and these are assumed to represent the source of the white slip. Design styles noted on Three Circle Red-on-white pottery are intermediate between those described for Mogollon Red-on-brown and Mangas Black-on-white. Designs were similar to but are sometimes more precisely executed than earlier types. Motifs include straight and squiggle lines, scrolls, and isolated and connected triangles. Designs are often arranged in quartered layouts similar to that noted in Mogollon Red-on-brown. Lines are often organized in chevron or rectilinear patterns and are often oriented around solid designs. While design motifs and layouts are similar to those found on Mogollon Red-on-brown, the proportion of solid to line fillers is greater. Unfortunately, it is sometimes difficult to distinguish misfired red-on-white examples of Mangas Black-on-white from Three Circle Red-on-white, although they may be distinguished by differences in the color and inclusions of slips and overall design styles. Bowls are the most common form although jar forms are also represented. The great majority of these are polished on the interior, and all are polished on the exterior surfaces.

The production of pottery clearly representing Three Circle Red-on-brown appears to have been produced during the San Francisco phase sometime between A.D. 700 to 900. The period during which this type was dominate may have been very short-lived, confined to a brief span in the eighth century (Schafer and Brewington). Three Circle Red-on-white does not appear to have been made in as large an area as other Mogollon painted types and sites dominated by this type may have been slightly more common and longer lived in the San Francisco Valley in the Northern Mogollon than areas of the Mogollon Highlands to the south.

Haury, Emil W.
1936 Some Southwestern Pottery Types. Medallion Papers No. 19, Gila Pueblo, Globe, Arizona.

Martin, Paul S., and John B. Rinaldo
1950 Turkey Foot Ridge Site: A Mogollon Village, Pine Lawn Valley Western New Mexico. Fieldiana Anthropology 38 (2), Chicago.

Shafer, Harry J and Robbie L.Brewington
1995 Microstylistic Changes in Mimbres Black-on-white Pottery: Examples from the Nan Ruin, Grant County, New Mexico. Kiva 66(1)5-29.

Wilson, C. Dean
1999 Ceramic Types and Attributes. In Archaeology of the Mogollon Highlands Settlement Systems and Adaptations; Volume 4. Ceramics, Miscellaneous Artifacts, Bioarchaeology. Bone Tools and Faunal Analysis, edited by Y.R Oakes and D.A. Zamora, pp 5-86. Archaeology Notes 232, Office of Archaeological Studies, Museum of New Mexico, Santa Fe.

Related Photos

Three Circle Red-on-white bowl sherd

Three Circle Red-on-white bowl sherd

Three Circle Red-on-white bowl sherds

Three Circle Red-on-white bowl

Three Circle Red-on-white bowl