Ancestral Pueblo: Southern Colorado Plateau (Anasazi)Central AnasaziChuskaChuska Gray Ware

Ware Name: Chuska Gray Ware

First posted by C. Dean Wilson 2014

Gray ware utility wares assigned to types defined for the Chuska tradition are similar to but distinguished from utility wares produced in surrounding regions of the Anasazi by the occurrence of relatively large and distinct fragments of angular dark gray to green crushed trachyte from sources occurring in the Chuska Valley (Windes 1977). Paste tends to be gray to dark gray without a core and commonly fires to dark red colors when exposed to oxidation atmospheres. The long sequence of change noted in Chuska gray ware types is similar to that noted for other gray wares produced in regions of the Colorado Plateau. The identification of Chuska gray wares based on temper may sometimes provide a unique glimpse into specialized production and distribution of gray utility wares across different localities of the Colorado Plateau that is probably often obscured by our inability to determine specific areas origins of widely distributed sand tempered gray wares. It is also fortuitous that during some periods mass amounts gray utility ware produced in areas of the Chuska appear to have been widely distributed to areas such as Chaco Canyon where local sources of trachyte temper do not occur. The distributions of large volumes of gray ware vessels produced in the foothills of the Chuska Mountains into Chaco Canyon may be related to the depletion of wood needed for the firing of vessels in Chaco Canyon and other areas occupied in the San Juan Basin (Toll 1981; Toll and McKenna 1997).

Gray utility ware pottery exhibiting characteristics resulting in assignment to Chuska Gray Ware types appears to have been produced from A.D. 775 to 1300. While the early date for the production of gray ware types in the Chuska region is later than that noted for other utility ware sequences noted for the Central Anasazi, this reflects the time during which trachyte temper was employed rather than a later beginning dated for the production of gray wares in the Chuska region. Chuska Gray ware types described here in order of their time of appearance include Bennet Gray, Sheep Springs Gray, Tocito Gray, Gray Hills Banded, Newcomb Corrugated, Captain Tom Corrugated, Blue Shale Corrugated, and Hunter Corrugated.

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