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Reading Between the Lines: A Biscuitware Analysis in the Lower Chama Valley

Author(s): Christina Stewart

Year: 2017

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Archaeologists have long understood that the Lower Chama Valley in New Mexico was home to a large Tewa population during the Classic Period (A.D. 1340-1540) but the area underwent dramatic depopulation by A.D. 1600. The precise timing, motivation and movements of people are unclear due to the lack of chronological control in the region. One way to address this chronological problem in the Lower Chama Valley is through analysis of the abundant and locally produced biscuitware pottery. Bandelier Black-on-Gray (A.D. 1400-1550) is currently the only agreed upon 16th century biscuitware, however, in 1973 Harlow proposed a later transitional biscuitware, Cuyamungue Black-on-tan (A.D. 1540-1560) whose validity is still debated. I will analyze the stylistic and technological variability in biscuitware pottery at the site of Sapa’owingeh (LA 306), a large late classic Tewa pueblo whose population was still growing throughout the 16th century, to evaluate the viability of a Cuyamungue Black-on-tan type. Identifying an additional biscuitware type will allow for a refined typological chronology and greater temporal control at sites in the region. This research is important because of its implications for clarifying a Tewa chronology and allowing for further research into population decline and migration in the Chama Valley.

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Reading Between the Lines: A Biscuitware Analysis in the Lower Chama Valley. Christina Stewart. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 428922)


Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16663

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America