Origins and Construction Techniques of Historic Flat-Backed Canteens

Author(s): Kristina Whitney

Year: 2016


In the 19th century, ethnographers documented numerous Pueblo groups throughout the American Southwest making and using ceramic flat-backed canteens. These canteens pose unique manufacturing issues due to their shape: they are symmetrical along only one axis due to one flat and one bulbous side, and the closed rim is parallel to the flat side, not perpendicular as is usual. They are also extremely similar in shape to large European canteens, and thus can offer insight to the complex relationships between the Spanish and Native American groups during and after the entradas. This research investigates the origin of the flat-backed canteen shape in Arizona and New Mexico while also examining multiple methods for its construction. While most of the canteens for this study come from museum collections, data has been collected on vessels ranging from the 16th through the 20th centuries, with selected canteens from Gran Quivira providing very useful information. 

Cite this Record

Origins and Construction Techniques of Historic Flat-Backed Canteens. Kristina Whitney. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Washington, D.C. 2016 ( tDAR id: 434677)

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Temporal Keywords
16th-20th century CE

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 206