Ancestral Pueblo: Southern Colorado Plateau (Anasazi)Central AnasaziNorthern San JuanNorthern San Juan White WarePiedra Black-on-white (Northern San Juan)

Type Name: Piedra Black-on-white (Northern San Juan)

Period: 775 A.D. - 900 A.D.
Culture: Ancestral Pueblo: Southern Colorado Plateau (Anasazi)
Branch: Central Anasazi
Tradition: Northern San Juan
Ware: Northern San Juan White Ware

First posted by C. Dean Wilson 2012

Piedra Black-on-white was defined by Roberts (1930). This type refers to the dominant formal Mesa Verde white ware type associated with middle and late Pueblo I components, beginning at about A.D. 775 and ending at about A.D. 900 (Abel 1955; Oppelt 1992; Reed 1958; Rohn 1977; Wilson and Blinman 1995). This type shares some features with, but is not identical to, contemporaneous types in other regions such as Kana'a Black-on-white of the Kayenta tradition, Drolet Black-on-white for the Chuska tradition, and Kiatuthlanna Black-on-white for the Cibola tradition.

Piedra Black-on-white differs from Chapin Black-on-white in that it is generally polished, although the polish may be erratic. It differs from Rosa Black-on-white by the presence of decorations in mineral paint and more formalized decorative patterns. Early examples are generally not slipped, but the incidence of slipping increases with later examples which tend to be more polished. Rims are usually tapered or rounded and may be solidly painted or unpainted. Fugitive red coatings are sometimes present on vessel exteriors, but are not as common as in Chapin Black-on-white. Piedra Black-on-white vessel forms are dominated by bowls, but jar, gourd jar, pitcher, and dipper forms are present and are more common than Chapin Black-on-white non bowl vessel forms. Piedra Black-on-white is decorated with iron oxide based mineral paint. Design motifs present in Piedra Black-on-white resemble those described for late styles of Chapin Black-on-white, although they differ in overall arrangement and organization. Piedra Black-on-white designs are arranged with reference to the rim or circumference of the vessel rather than the center. In contrast to Chapin Black-on-white, many designs of Piedra Black-on-white are arranged as a single unit composed of a series of several thin parallel intersecting lines covering a large portion of the vessel surface. These lines are frequently embellished with triangles, flagged triangles, and ticked lines. While the design styles of Piedra Black-on-white are similar to those described from Chapin Black-on-white, technological differences between these types will often result in very different classification of sherds derived from vessels of the two types. It may be difficult to distinguish painted sherds derived from Piedra vessels not exhibiting distinctive designs from those deriving from Pueblo II types (Mancos Black-on-white and Cortez Black-on-white).

Abel, Leland J.
1955 San Juan Red Ware, Mesa Verde Gray Ware, Mesa Verde White Ware and San Juan White Ware, Pottery Types of the Southwest: Wares 5A, 10A, 10B, 12A. Museum of Northern Arizona Ceramic Series 3B, Flagstaff.

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.

Roberts, Frank H.H.
1930 Early Pueblo Ruins in the Piedra District, Southwestern Colorado. Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 96. Washington, D.C.

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

Reed, Lori and Joel Goff
2007 A Field Guide to Upper San Juan Anasazi and Navajo Pottery. Prepared for the NMAC Ceramic Workshop, Farmington District Office,Document on file, Bureau of Land Management, Farmington.

Wilson, C. Dean, and Eric Blinman

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

1995 Ceramic Types of the Mesa Verde Region. In Archaeological Pottery of Colorado: Ceramic Clues to the Prehistoric and Protohistoric Lives of the State's Native Peoples, edited by R.H. Brunswig, B. Bradley, and S.M. Chandler, pp. 33-88. Colorado Council of Archaeologists Occasional Papers 2, Denver.

Related Photos

Piedra Black-on-white bowl sherd

Piedra Black-on-white bowl

Late Pueblo I assemblage with Piedra Black-on-white

Late Pueblo I assemblage with Piedra Black-on-white

Piedra Black-on-white vessels

Piedra Black-on-white jar sherd

Piedra Black-on-white jar sherd