Ancestral Pueblo: Southern Colorado Plateau (Anasazi)Central AnasaziChaco and CibolaChaco-Cibola White WareLa Plata Black-on-white

Type Name: La Plata Black-on-white

Period: 550 A.D. - 750 A.D.
Culture: Ancestral Pueblo: Southern Colorado Plateau (Anasazi)
Branch: Central Anasazi
Tradition: Chaco and Cibola
Ware: Chaco-Cibola White Ware

First posted by C. Dean Wilson 2012

La Plata Black-on-white was named by Morris (1927) and described by Hawley (1936). This type refers to the dominant decorated forms found at Basketmaker III site distributed over a wide geographic area (Hays-Gilpin and van Hartsveldt 1998; Morris 1980; Reed and others 1998). La Plata Black-on-white as originally defined referred to almost all the pottery exhibiting mineral paint decorated in Basketmaker III styles across the Colorado Plateau, and has since been narrowed to include pottery produced in the Cibola region where sand or sandstone was used as temper. The span associated with the production of this type is largely contemporaneous with the Basketmaker III period spanning from about A.D. 550 to 750.

Undecorated surfaces of pottery assigned to La Plata Black-on-white are unpolished and decorated surfaces are unpolished or slightly polished. La Plata Black-on-white is similar to pottery produced in the Kayenta region assigned to Lino Black-on-white with the exception of painted decorations in mineral rather than carbon paint. Other types exhibiting similar styles but assigned to types associated with other traditions on the basis of temper include Crozier Black-on-white and Chapin Black-on-white. Early forms that appear to have developed directly out of Tohatchi Red-on-brown may more often exhibit reddish decorations on polished surfaces (Reed and others 2000). La Plata Black-on-white from collections from sites dating the full span of the Basketmaker period tends to exhibit a wide range of variation in both color and thickness of paint. The rim is usually but not always solidly painted. The great majority the pottery assigned to this type is derived from deep bowls, although extremely low frequencies of gourd dippers, jars and seed jar with painted interiors are represented. La Plata Black-on-white commonly exhibits applications of fugitive red on the exterior surface. Pottery assigned to this type is almost always tempered with coarse quartz sand or sandstone although sherd temper occurs in rare instances.

Designs of La Plata Black-on-white are usually arranged in isolated groups of two or three arrangements or pendants from the rim. Design motifs include thin lines, solid or open triangles, ticks, flags, and dot or basket stitched ("Z" and "I" s) motif filled spaces. When the middle of the bowl interior is decorated, it often consists of simple or slightly elaborated open circles. Stylized figures human or animal figures are sometimes created through the use of repeating triangles, squares, or triangles that narrow toward the top and extend further out toward the sides and often similar to stylized forms noted in contemporaneous in rock art.

Hawley, Florence M.
1936 Field Manual of Prehistoric Southwestern Pottery Types. The University of new Mexico Bulletin No. 291, Anthropological Series 1(4), Albuquerque.

Hays-Gilpin, Kelley., and Eric van Hartesveldt
1998 Prehistoric Ceramics of the Puerco Valley: The 1995 Chambers-Sanders Trust Lands Ceramic Conference. Museum of Northern Arizona Ceramic Series No.7. The Museum of Northern Arizona, Flagstaff.

Morris, Earl H.
1927 The Beginning of Pottery Making in the San Juan area: Unfired Prototypes and Wares of the Earliest Ceramic Periods. American Museum of Natural History Anthropology Papers, vol. 28, part II, New York.

Morris Elizabeth A.
1980 Basketmaker Caves in the Prayer rock District, Notheastern the Prayer Rock District, North-eastern Arizona. Anthropological Papers of the Uiversity of Arizona no.36. University of Arizona Press, Tucson.

Reed, Lori S., Joell Goff, and Kathy Niles Hensler
1998 Exploring Ceramic Production, Distribution, and Exchange in the Southern Chuska Valley: Analytical Results from the El Paso Natural Gas North Expansion Project, Pipeline Archaeology 1990-1993: The El Paso Natural Gas System Expansion Project, New Mexico and Arizona, Vol XI, Book 1, Report no, WCRM (F)74, Farmington.

Reed, Lori C., Dean Wilson, and Kelley Hays-Gilipin
2000 From Brown to Gray; The Origins of Ceramic Technology in the Northen Southwest. In Foundations of Anasazi Culture: The Basketmaker-Pueblo Transition, edited by P.F. Reed, pp. 19-45. The University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City.

Related Photos

La Plata Black-on-white bowl sherd

La Plata Black-on-white bowl sherd

La Plata Black-on-white bowl sherds

La Plata Black-on-white bowl sherds

La Plata Black-on-white bowl sherds

La Plata Black-on-white bowl

La Plata Black-on-white bowl sherds