Follow the Women: Ceramics and Post-Fremont Ethnogenesis

Author(s): Gabriel Yanicki

Year: 2017


The Promontory Gray ceramic type is problematic within the narrative of proto-Apacheans at the Promontory Caves: progenitor populations of Subarctic Dene did not make or use pottery. A solution to this dilemma is readily evident in both oral traditions and genetic studies that show large-scale recruitment of women into founding proto-Apachean populations. Ceramics, normally an aspect of women’s craft production, likely arrived with the women who joined them. Early dates for the peak of Promontory Culture occupation, A.D. 1240–1290, justify a closer comparison of Promontory ceramics to contemporary late Fremont assemblages. Given the potential for culture contact and ensuing processes of ethnogenetic change, a model is presented here to distinguish among ceramic assemblages left by groups that engaged in trade or imitation, or that featured the movement of experts themselves. While some imitative learning is evident, the earliest Promontory Gray specimens demonstrate an already refined ceramic tradition. They are a departure from locally made Great Salt Lake Gray at the nearby Fremont settlement of Chournos Springs, but are often indistinguishable from calcite-tempered Uinta Gray and a highly micaceous type known as Knolls Gray. Two areas—the Uinta Basin and Gunnison Bay—are drawn into sharp focus as loci of proto-Apachean social recruitment.

Cite this Record

Follow the Women: Ceramics and Post-Fremont Ethnogenesis. Gabriel Yanicki. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431881)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -122.761; min lat: 29.917 ; max long: -109.27; max lat: 42.553 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16023