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Journeys of Our Ancestors: Ceramic Colorants and their Role in Undestanding Migration in the American Southwest

Author(s): Caitlin O'Grady ; Nancy Odegaard ; E. Charles Adams

Year: 2017

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Culturally defined color, and the technology used to produce it, is a hallmark of ceramics produced in the American Southwest prior to European contact. This characteristic (among others) was utilized to initially name, define and describe archaeologically recovered ceramic wares (e.g. Colton and Hargrave 1937; Fewkes 1898; Kidder 1931; Shepard 1931). The integration of conservation science and materials science approaches to this research is crucial to reveal nuanced interpretations of cultural and artistic motivations in production, which are key features towards understanding migration – particularly as colorant chemistry is related to culture, technology and condition. Further, technological advances in non-destructive analysis – including portable XRF – enable data collection from sample sets where NAGPRA, preservation and other concerns eliminate the possibility of destructive sampling. This paper reports results used to reconstruct manufacturing technologies to fabricate visually similar colorant layers associated with Hopi Sikyatki Polychrome and other Jeddito Yellow Wares, as well as highlights the effective use of portable XRF in identifying Point of Pines Polychrome and Gila Carretas Polychrome glaze-paint technologies. They provide insight into the transmission of people, material culture and technology across the landscape.

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Journeys of Our Ancestors: Ceramic Colorants and their Role in Undestanding Migration in the American Southwest. Caitlin O'Grady, Nancy Odegaard, E. Charles Adams. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431427)


Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16751

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