Prescott Gray Ware
and Chino Phases (Colton 1939:31-32); also earlier phases in the development
of the Prescott Tradition (Jeter 1977:77,376-389); Wood 1979, 1980
least A.D. 800, and possibly earlier, to 1400
Occasional basket and textile impressions suggest at least some use
of a base mold.
Thinning: paddle and anvil.
usually hand smoothed; occasionally lightly wiped, scraped, or both. Jars: interiors smoothed by scraping and are
almost never polished except occasionally along the rim. Rims often have light wiping marks. Anvil marks occasionally show on jars. Jar exteriors were scraped smooth. Sometimes, a scum finish is present, indicating
considerable use of water in the finishing process. Bowls: interiors occasionally polished, rarely
smudged. Exteriors are scraped smooth
and seldom polished. Occasional heavy
wiping. Anvil marks rarely show on bowls.
atmosphere usually varied. More controlled
for non-oxidizing atmosphere on decorated ware; less controlled for plain.
Often, oxidized and non-oxidized areas are apparent on the same vessel
suggesting a haphazard firing technique. There is a trend toward non-oxidation in the
east to oxidation in the west (Euler and Dobyns 1962:77). Most firing was probably done at temperatures
below 800°C whether in an oxidizing or non-oxidizing atmosphere (James
1973:18). It appears as though there
was a definite attempt to achieve a non-oxidizing atmosphere, at least in
the east, and for decorated vessels. Likewise, orange types appear to have
been deliberately oxidized for a clear, bright orange color. Fire clouds are
haphazard and frequent on gray types.
Temper: moderate to abundant, poorly sorted, granitic
material including quartz, arkosic sand, and feldspar. Particles of many sizes; medium to coarse grains
prominent. Quartz tends to be clear,
but can also be frosted or both and is generally angular, sometimes rounded.
Mica is frequent, but the presence of mica is not required for inclusion
in the ware. Proportions of quartz and mica vary. When present, mica is usually silver, sometimes
black or gold, sometimes mixed. Large chunks of tempering material are often
present in addition to smaller material; temper particles are sometimes fine,
but temper is always abundant.
Core Color: Carbon
streak sometimes present; core usually gray to orange
due to position of vessel during firing.
clay, generally dark gray in non-oxidizing atmosphere,
bright orange when fully oxidized, and shades in between, depending
on firing atmosphere; not vitrified.
Core Texture: medium
to coarse, visible subangular to angular temper particles generally range
between 0.5 mm and 4 mm; porous.
crumbly, particles easily detached from broken edge.
Surface Appearance: varies,
rough to smooth, but seldom polished (see finishing). Bowl interiors tend
to be smoother than exteriors. Generally
not slipped. Some types have buff
to white and red slips. Occasionally a
scum surface is present.
Surface Color: generally
gray, also brown, orange. This range of colors can be found, even on the same
sherd. The named orange types have
clear orange exteriors and aluminum gray interiors.
frequent and haphazard.
range from 4.5 mm to 15 mm; average 6.5 mm.
Jars range from 8.9 mm to 10.6 mm; average 10 mm.
Jar bases often thick.
Weathering and Use Wear Pattern:
interior bottom surfaces of jars commonly exfoliated.
Exterior surfaces of all forms sometimes abraded, especially on vessel
Vessel Forms: Hemispherical
bowls and globular jars are most common.
Bowls range from 10 to 45 cm in diameter.
Jars are generally large, usually over 50 cm
in diameter, but may range from 15 to 90 cm in diameter. Jars (especially Prescott
Red-on-gray and Prescott Red-on-buff) sometimes have a shoulder which is higher
and more rounded than the "Gila shoulder" which is low on the jar
and "frequently made in such a way as to leave a pronounced angle around
the body" (Colton 1937:177); sometimes
constructed as a jar in a bowl form (mold inset); occasionally, there are
two shoulders separated by a slightly concave band which serves as a design
field; jar bottoms are sometimes slightly
conical. Miniatures generally lack standarized forms.
Seed jars, effigy vessels, dippers and scoops are rare.
Anthropomorphic and zoomorphic figurines are relatively common, and
some anthropomorphic ones are unusually large.
rims are almost always rounded, occasionally square, almost always flared.
Bowl rims are also usually rounded, occasionally square, and are usually vertical or, less commonly,
Decoration and Paint Type: Painted;
wide variety of materials and colors for paints and slips. Paint is organic
until late time periods when red and white mineral paints appear. Painted designs appear on interior of bowls,
occasionally on exterior; on interior rim and exterior of jars; sometimes
entire jar interior is decorated. Decorative
surface treatments are rare, but include applique, modeling, punctate designs,
fingernail indentation, incising.
in the Prescott Branch heartland: from
Upper Chino Wash on the north to Peeples Valley on the south, and from Juniper
Mountains on the west to the Agua Fria River at Dewey on the east.
Outside the heartland, substantial numbers occur in a band along Deadmans
Wash into Wupatki National Monument on the north, to Horsethief Basin on the
south, and from the Big Sandy River on the west [may be revised], to the Black
Hills on the east and in the Sedona Red Rocks area.
COMPARISON: San Francisco Mountain Gray
Ware has finer paste, smaller temper size, and thinner walls. Verde Brown
has a browner color and more varied temper, including gold mica (while Prescott
Gray Ware tends to have silver mica). Wingfield Plain has phyllite temper.
Hohokam plainware has a browner color and more varied temper.
CULTURAL ASSOCIATION: Prescott Culture.
Copyright 2001 Northern Arizona University.