Ancestral Pueblo: Southern Colorado Plateau (Anasazi)Central AnasaziNorthern San JuanNorthern San Juan White WareChapin Black-on-white (Rosa Style)

Type Name: Chapin Black-on-white (Rosa Style)

Period: 700 - 850
Culture: Ancestral Pueblo: Southern Colorado Plateau (Anasazi)
Branch: Central Anasazi
Tradition: Northern San Juan
Ware: Northern San Juan White Ware

First posted by Dean Wilson 2012

The classification of a subset of white wares exhibiting characteristics described for Chapin Black-on-white (Breternitz 1974; Oppelt 1992; Reed 1958; Rohn 1977) with designs executed in organic paint in areas of the eastern San Juan has long presented challenges for archaeologist working in the eastern portion of the Northern San Juan region. Similar pottery forms noted in collections from the Navajo Reservoir and Gobernador areas have been described as Rosa Black-on-white which has been included in the Upper San Juan tradition (Hall 1944; Wilson and Blinman 1993). While most of the pottery exhibiting decorations and paint type indicative of Rosa Black-on-white appear to have been produced in the Upper San Juan region, a sub-set of pottery exhibiting such characteristic, dominate early Pueblo I sites, dating to the eighth and very early ninth century, in the eastern portion of the Northern San Juan including Mesa Verde National Park, the La Plata Valley and Mancos Canyon (O'Bryan 1950; Reed 1958; Rohn 1977; Wilson 1996). This includes pottery commonly tempered with local crushed igneous rock similar to that long used in the Northern San Juan region which is described here as a variety of Chapin Black-on-white.

Along with paint and style, this pottery tends to differ from earlier forms of Chapin Black-on white by surfaces that tend to be slightly polished, but it is never slipped. Surfaces are commonly off white to light gray in color. Fugitive red is common on bowl exteriors. The most distinctive characteristic of this type is the presence of either a glaze or washy organic paint pigment. Glaze paint may be green, greenish-black, black, red, or yellow, and it is characterized by a thick, glossy sheen. Designs are simple, bold, and often sloppily executed. Lines are usually uneven, probably as a result of the limitations of the pigments employed. Rosa Black-on-white design styles occur in assemblages dating to the late Basketmaker III and early Pueblo I period. As is the case for other earlier white ware types, painted design is often divided into two or three unconnected units oriented toward the rim. Each unit is usually composed of a combination of several simple elements. Design elements include triangles, circles, flagged or walking circles, curved lines, crossed lines, and bent lines, often ticked or flagged. Elements derived from basket stitches, common on Basketmaker III types such as Chapin Black-on-white, are rare in the Rosa style variants. Some vessels display a more complex orientation, with the designs organized in a single band or an all-over pattern. In addition to the elements found near the rim, open circles are often present in the center of bowls. Bowls are by far the dominant vessel form for Rosa Black-on-white, but jars may occur in extremely low frequencies.

Breternitz, David A., Arthur H. Rohn, Jr., and Elizabeth A. Morris
1974 Prehistoric Ceramics of the Mesa Verde Region. Museum of Northern Arizona Ceramic Series 5. Flagstaff.

Hall, Edward T. Jr.
1944 Early Stockaded Settlements in the Gobernador, New Mexico. Columbia Studies in Archaeology and Ethnology Vol. II, Part I, Columbia University Press, New York.

O'Bryan, Deric
1950 Excavations in Mesa Verde National Park. Medallion Papers, No. 39, Gila Pueblo, Globe, Arizona.

Oppelt, Norman T.
1992 Earth Water Fire: The Prehistoric Pottery of Mesa Verde. Johnson Books, Boulder.

Reed, Erik K.
1958 Excavation in Mancos Canyon, Colorado. University of Utah Anthropological Papers, No. 35, Salt Lake City.

Rohn, Arthur H.
1977 Cultural Change and Continuity on Chapin Mesa. Regents Press, Lawrence.

Wilson, C. Dean, and Eric Blinman

1993 Upper San Juan Ceramic Typology. Office of Archaeological Studies Archaeology Notes 80, Santa Fe.

Related Photos

Late Chapin Black-on-white (Rosa Style) bowl

Early Pueblo II assemblage with Chapin Black-on-white

Late Chapin Black-on-white sherds

Early Pueblo I assemblage with Late Chapin Black-on-white

Chapin Black-on-white bowls showing a range of styles