New Mexico Office of Archaeological Studies

Ceramic Analysis

Ceramic Analysis Lab Director: Thatcher Seltzer-Rogers

Click here to visit the Southwest Ceramic Typology Project website


The Ceramic Analysis Lab analyzes pottery recovered from all OAS projects and conducts contractual studies for other agencies.

In recent years the program has focused on ceramics from prehistoric and historic Spanish and Pueblo sites scattered across the Northern Rio Grande. We have also described and interpreted pottery from projects in the Chaco, Southern Cibola, Chuska, San Juan, and Upper San Juan regions of the Four Corners Anasazi, Northern Mogollon, Mimbres, Salado, Northern Jornada, Southern Jornada, and Navajo culture traditions. Much of this research has been concerned with the various influences on Native ceramic traditions, including raw-material distribution, cultural identity, climate change, settlement, and exchange networks.

Specific issues that have been reported in detail include the identification of components transitional between the aceramic Basketmaker II and the ceramic-producing Basketmaker III phases, examining potential reasons for differences in pottery associated with different regional "cultural traditions," evaluation of the influence of Chaco or other centers on panregional ceramic trends noted during the tenth and eleventh centuries, and the evaluation of migration models from late Pueblo III and Coalition period sites in the Mesa Verde to the Northern Rio Grande region.

The Southwest Ceramic Typology Project is the first attempt at classifying the wide range of ceramic types from archaeological sites across the Greater Southwest. It is an ongoing project led by OAS Research Associate C. Dean Wilson and will be further organized as data is collected from more sites and input is gathered from ceramic specialists in the future.