Archaeological Pottery of Colorado: Ceramic Clues to the Prehistoric and Protohistoric Lives of the State's Native Peoples

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Archaeological Pottery of Colorado: Ceramic Clues to the Prehistoric and Protohistoric Lives of the State's Native Peoples. Edited by ROBERT H. BRUNSWIG, JR., BRUCE BRADLEY, and SUSAN M. CHANDLER. CCPA Occasional Papers No. 2. Colorado Council of Professional Archaeologists, P.O. Box 36217, Denver, CO. viii + 207 pp., figures, tables, references cited. $17.50 (paper).

The derivation of data from pottery is fundamental to the analysis of collections from ceramic period sites. Whatever else the analyst does or does not do with pottery, however, it is a near certainty that he or she will identify it to an established ware and/or type. Wares and types, in turn, are frequently indexed to a specific interval of time and to a particular cultural tradition, broadly correlated with known peoples. It follows, therefore, that accurate ceramic identifications are essential to writing meaningful culture histories and that the availability of good guidance for making those identifications and comparisons is beneficial to all concerned. To assist archaeologists working in the state to make accurate ceramic identifications, the Colorado Council of Professional Archaeologists (CCPA) produced Archaeological Pottery of Colorado. The volume resulted from a ceramics symposium held in conjunction with the 1991 CCPA meeting. It is intended to be-and is-a comprehensive reference compiling ceramic data and comparative literature for a state with diverse native peoples and therefore diverse ceramic traditions. The book will also be useful to archaeologists working greater or lesser distances into adjacent states; the western quarter of Kansas, for example, is similar both physiographically and archaeologically to the eastern third of Colorado.

Following a foreword by Alan Reed, the volume contains eight papers grouped into three sections. The first section consists of a single paper by William A. Lucius, describing a technological approach to ceramic typology. The heart of the volume reviews the pottery of individual ceramic traditions. Four papers in Section 2 describe western slope pottery and three papers in Section 3 review ceramics from east of the Continental Divide.

The volume may be of greatest use to practitioners working west of the Continental Divide, and particularly in the southwest part of the state, where typological diversity is high and there is a long history of ceramic studies. In fact, the two papers covering southwest Colorado pottery-by C. Dean Wilson and Eric Blinman on Mesa Verde area material, and by David V. Hill on Navajo pottery-together account for nearly half of the pages devoted to reviewing specific ceramic traditions. Rounding out the western slope papers are brief treatments of Fremont ceramics by Michael D. Metcalf and of Ute ceramics by Alan D. Reed. Ute pottery is occasionally found in the Colorado Front Range, but does not extend onto the Plains, nor are materials from any of these other western slope traditions found on the Plains.

For eastern Colorado, Priscilla B. Ellwood considers early and middle ceramic period pottery, Robert H. Brunswig, Jr. covers Apachean pottery, and Jeffrey L. Eighmy gives a brief description of Intermountain pottery. Intermountain pottery is found in the Northwestern Plains and mountains and may occur at the Signal Butte site in the Nebraska panhandle, so it is not entirely outside the range of materials found on the Plains. But, since the pottery most common to the Plains is discussed in Ellwood's and Brunswig's papers, it is appropriate to examine them here in more detail.

Ellwood treats four traditions (using the term a bit loosely) occurring primarily on the Plains: the early ceramic period Plains Woodland, and the middle ceramic period Upper Republican, Apishapa, and Upper Purgatoire complexes. …