Apachean (Southern Athapaskan)Southwest ApacheanNavajoNavajo Gray WareNavajo Gray

Type Name: Navajo Gray

Period: 1800 A.D> - 0 Now
Culture: Apachean (Southern Athapaskan)
Branch: Southwest Apachean
Tradition: Navajo
Ware: Navajo Gray Ware

First posted by C. Dean Wilson 2013

Navajo Gray was defined by Brugge (1963) to distinguish characteristics described for recently produced Navajo utility ware pottery (Hill 1937) from earlier forms. This type describes forms that developed directly out of Dinetah Gray but is distinguished by differences in temper and paste (Brugge 1963; 1987; Hill 1995). Pottery exhibiting characteristics described for Navajo Gray may have been produced by the early nineteenth century and continues to be produced today.

In contrast to the sand or crushed temper in Dinetah Gray, temper tends to consist of a finely crushed sherd, usually with some sand. Pastes are usually black gray and sometimes light gray, brown or buff. Surfaces are light gray to black and sometimes red, orange buff, tan or brown. Vessel wall tend to be weak and crumble easily. Surfaces are commonly covered with pinion pitch. Vessels are overwhelmingly dominated by jars, although bowls may occur. Jars are often straight with a very wide mouth. Interior surfaces are usually wiped with shredded juniper bark or corn husks and are sometimes lightly polished. Exterior surfaces are usually scraped or wiped and sometimes smoothed. Upper portions of jars are often decorated with one, two, or three rows of fillets along the upper part of the neck. These fillets are usually applied as fillets, either straight or as zigzag, and are commonly decorated with repeated indentations and are sometimes represented by "snake" images. Rims are sometimes notched.

Brugge, David M.

1963 Navajo Pottery and Ethnohistory. Navajo Nation Papers in Anthropology 4. Navajo Nation Cultural Resource Management Program, Window Rock, Arizona.

1987 Navajo Pottery in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries. Plateau 59(2):3-8.

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, Denver.

Hill, W. W.
1937 Navajo Pottery Manufacture. University of New Mexico Bulletin, Anthropological Series 2(3).

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