Miniature Pottery Vessels in the Mimbres Region

Author(s): Lydia Pittman

Year: 2016


This paper presents a study of Miniature Pottery vessels from the Mimbres region of the American Southwest. I define these vessels as no larger than 10cm in length in any dimension. My data set includes over 150 vessels from sites in southwestern New Mexico. I will look at attributes such as painting, slip, temper, and completeness as well as depositional context to make inferences about the possible uses of these vessels in the time period that is covered. My vessels span almost 1000 years from the start of the Georgetown Phase (A.D. 550-650) through the end of the Cliff Phase (A.D. 1300-1450). I look at variations in their attributes and contexts through time to help explain their uses. A range of explanations have recurred over the years about the Mogollon and other miniature vessels in the ancient Southwest. The most prominent interpretations are that they are children's toys, older children's practice pieces, or as specialized ritual vessels of various kinds (e.g., Datura pots). My paper seeks to refine these explanations by considering how ethnographic evidence of the animacy and other uses and roles of artifacts such as pottery would contribute to interpretations of these miniature vessels.

Cite this Record

Miniature Pottery Vessels in the Mimbres Region. Lydia Pittman. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 405027)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -115.532; min lat: 30.676 ; max long: -102.349; max lat: 42.033 ;