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ALAMEDA BROWN WARE

Pottery Wares of Northern Arizona


Background: Contemporary types in this ware are very alike in forms and methods of manufacture, but differ in the type of temper used. Temper differs with the material available; basaltic ash, quartz sand, quartz and feldspar sand. Basalt, volcanic tuff, or crystalline rock such as granite, schist, or gneiss were crushed and used for temper. The distinctive temper for many of the identified types can be sourced to a specific locality where the type was manufactured. These types form an excellent material by which to study prehistoric trade and interaction.

In naming some types, the original describers did not follow a consistent system. Some of the types without a slip or other surface treatment were called plain, some brown, and some, such as Tuzigoot Plain, Verde Brown, and Tonto Red, were called red. Since these types were properly described and the descriptions published, changing the names to conform to a uniform system would be confusing.

In general, the paste of the Alameda Brown Ware types ranges from orange and brown to dark gray because the clay contains incompletely oxidized organic material. If a pot was in a reducing atmosphere during firing traces of reduced iron remain in the clay. When completely oxidized, the paste is usually orange, although some sherds have a buff surface and paste. This suggest that the usual material was residual clay and that the occasional buff specimens alluvial clay was used.

Painted or textures surfaces are rare on Alameda Brown Ware. However, in most of the major types a few sherds have been found with crude white designs on a red surface or tooled design, and a few sherds with a crude black design on a brown surface have also turned up.
The bowl interiors of many types have been intentionally smudged as in Mogollon Brown Ware of the same time period.

DESCRIPTION:

CORE: Constructed: by paddle and anvil. Color: naturally brick-red, brown, buff, orange, yellowish; if used for cooking may be dark gray or black. Fired: in oxidizing atmosphere.
TEMPER: variable, dependent on local material. Texture: fine to coarse
SURFACE: Color: exteriors usually brown or red; interiors of bowls frequently black (smudged). Finish: usually smoothed; frequently well polished; sometimes gritty; never corrugated or indented; sometimes thinly slipped; smudged surfaces common in many type; sometimes burnished; anvil marks on interiors of jars usually conspicuous.
FORMS: bowls, jars; often difficult to identify from individual sherds.
DECORATION: rare; paint when present is crude, exterior of bowls or jars; rarely tooled surfaces or applique. Paint: rare, may be black, red, white.
RANGE: San Francisco Mountains in Coconino County south to Mogollon Rim, Verde Valley, Yavapai County; Tonto and Roosevelt Basins, Gila County, Salt River Valley south to Tucson; Maricopa, Pinal and Pima Counties, Arizona.

ALAMEDA BROWN WARE TYPES

--> RIO DE FLAG BROWN

--> RIO DE FLAG SMUDGED

--> WINONA BROWN

--> ANGELL BROWN

--> YOUNGS BROWN

--> TURKEY HILL RED

--> SUNSET RED

--> GRAPEVINE BROWN

 
 

Dept. of Anthropology, P.O. Box 15200,
Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Arizona 86011-5200, USA.
email: anthrolab@nau.edu