Apachean (Southern Athapaskan)Southwest ApacheanNavajoNavajo Gray WareDinetah (Gobernador) Textured Gray

Type Name: Dinetah (Gobernador) Textured Gray

Period: 1500 A.D. - 1800 A.D.
Culture: Apachean (Southern Athapaskan)
Branch: Southwest Apachean
Tradition: Navajo
Ware: Navajo Gray Ware

First posted by C. Dean Wilson 2012

This distinction between Dinetah and Gobernador Gray was first made by Dittert (1958) to distinguish Navajo Utility Ware based on surface texture. Gobernador Gray as originally defined is similar to Dinetah Gray except for the presence of unobliterated indented coils near the rim (Brugge 1982; Hill 1995; Langefeld 1992; Reed 1995; Wilson and Blinman 1993). The production of low frequencies of Dinetah textured vessels seems to have spanned the period for which ceramics were produced from the early sixteenth to the end of nineteenth century (Reed and Reed 1992; Wilson and Blinman 1993).

The rim coils may somewhat resemble the smeared indented surface manipulations found on contemporary Pueblo utility types. Like the corrugated ceramics produced during much of the earlier Anasazi occupation, indentations are created during vessel construction and are left unobliterated on the vessel exterior. Neck coil variations include a single coil with high relief, incised coils, smoothed coils creating a low rounded contour on the vessel wall, multiple parallel bands, and linear or zig-zag rows of indentations or incisions. Textured pottery Dinetah originally described as Gobernador Indented was once thought to be almost exclusively associated with Gobernador phase sites (Dittert 1958), but textured pottery is actually present in assemblages dating through the entire Dinetah and Gobernador phase types (Reed and Reed 1992). Thus, wiped and textured forms of Dinetah Gray are sometimes grouped into a single type (Reed 1995). The indented forms are considered here a closely related variety of Dinetah Gray, but can be useful in the documentation of temporal or spatial patterns. The patterns noted on indented and dimpled surfaces present on certain early Navajo vessels seems to reflect the distinct construction techniques long employed by Navajo potters (Reed and Hensler 2000; Tscohpik 1941). The coiling reflected by these textures does not seem to be similar to that utilized by either Pueblo or Ute potters, but seems to represent its unique method that may indicate a distinct origin for Navajo and other Apachean utility ware types (Reed and Hensler 2000; Wilson 2004).

Brugge, David M.
1982 Apache and Navajo Ceramics in Southwestern Ceramics. In Southwest Ceramics: A Comparative Review. Edited by A. H. Schroeder, pp. 279-298. Arizona Archaeologist 15, The Arizona Archeological Socitey, Phoenix.

Dittert, A.E. Jr.
1958 Preliminary Archaeological Investigations in the Navajo Project Area of Northwestern New Mexico. Museum of New Mexico Papers in Anthropology No. 1, Navajo Studies Project Studies no. 1. Museum of New Mexico and School of American Research, Santa Fe.

Hill, David V.
1995 A Brief Overview of the Navajo Presence in the Upper San Juan Drainage and South Colorado and their Ceramics. In Archaeological Pottery of Colorado: Ceramic Clues to the Prehistoric and Protohistoric Lives of the State’s Native Peoples, edited by R.H. Brunswig, Jr., B. Bradley, and S.M. Chandler, pp. 98-119. Colorado Council of Professional Archaeologists Occasional Papers No. 2, Denver.

Langenfeld, Kristin
1996 Analysis of the Ceramic Assemblages. In Small Ste Archaeology in the Upper San Juan Basin: Investigations at Archaic, Anasazi, and Navajo Sites in Northwestern New Mexico, by J. T. Wharton, Douglas D. Dykeman, and Paul F. Reed, pp. 27-94. Navajo Nation Papers in Antrhopology 32. Navajo Nation Archaeology Department, Window Rock, Arizona.

Reed, Lori S.
1995 Ceramic Analysis. In Data Recovery at Three Early Navajo Sites Located along Meredian Oil, Inc.’s, San Juan 32-9 MF Gathering System in the Fruitland Coal Gas Development Area, San Juan County, New Mexico, by David E. DeMar, Noreen Frotz, and Scott Wicox, pp. 102-140. Technical Report 94-DCA-022. San Juan County Archaeological Research Center and Library, Bloomfield New Mexico.

Reed, Lori S. and Kathy Hensler
2000 Navajo Pottery Origins. Paper Present at 12th Navajo Studies Conference. San Juan College, Farmington, New Mexico.

Reed, L.S. and P.F. Reed
1992 The Protohistoric Navajo: Implication of Interaction, Exchange, and Alliance Formation with the Eastern and Western Pueblos. In Cultural Diversity and Adaptation: The Archaic, Anasazi, and Navajo Occupation of the Upper San Juan Basin, edited by L. Reed and P. Reed, pp. 91-104. Cultural Resources Series No. 9. New Mexico Bureau of Land Management, Albuquerque.

Tschopik, H, Jr
1941 Navajo Pottery Making: An Inquiry into the Affinities of Navaho Painted Pottery, Papers of the Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University, Vol 17(1), Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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

Wilson, Sarah .S.
2004 Ute and Navajo Ceramic Technology: Distinguishing Protohistoric and Ethnic Tradition. Unpublished Master’s Thesis, Department of Anthropology, University of Colorado, Boulder.

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Dinetah (Gobernador) Textured Gray jar

Dinetah (Gobernador) Textured Gray jar

Dinetah (Gobernador) Textured Gray jar