PERIOD: Possibly prehistory through the historic period (reservation era) of Arizona.

DATES: A. D. 1300-1500 to 1900 or A. D. 1700-1850 (Wood 1987).

See Ware Description, except:

Surface Appearance: Rough, irregular, wiped, and "scummy" surface. Wiping occurs on interior and/or exterior of the vessel. Wiping is irregular, occuring at random angles, and overlapping (like that of Tizon Wiped). Sometimes specimens can be pitch covered. Specimens are never slipped, smudged, or polished.

Surface Color: Reddish-brown to ashy gray to black.

Vessel Forms: Conical or pointed bottom jars with flaring rims and high shoulders See Vessel Picture 1 and Vessel Picture 2). There is a close resemblance to Navajo ceramics. Bowls are very rare.

Rims: Rounded.

Decoration and Paint: Apache ceramics are never painted, but they can exhibit incised lines and/or fingernail indentations. Vessels with only two or three bands of fingernail indentations around the shoulder or neck are of the Rim Rock Plain Variety. Vessels with all-over fingernail indentations are of the Strawberry Variety. Can also display notched rims, tooled rims, and additive rim coils. Neck fillets are infrequent, however.

RANGE: Located in the Verde Valley, Payson Highlands, Sierra Ancha, and the Mogollon Rim area. Could potentially be located anywhere within the Western Apache aboriginal territory, which is bounded by the San Francisco Peaks to the north, the Mazatzal Mountains to the west, the present day New Mexico/Arizona border to the east, and the northern reaches of Chihuahua and Sonora, Mexico to the south.

COMPARISON: Apache Plain sherds, without decoration, are very difficult to distinguish from Tizon Wiped sherds. Not only are they similar in color and surface appearance (see Vessel and Surface Appearance Pictures), but the core, temper, construction technique, and wall thickness are very similar. Apache plain ceramics, like Tizon Brown Ware ceramics, are coiled and then finished using either scraping or paddle and anvil.The core is comprised of an extremely dark, fine, silty paste. Temper is typically fine quartz and feldspar sand with organic inclusions, and is only occasionally comprised of ground potsherds (Wood 1987). Also, the walls of Apache Plain vessels are thin ranging from 0.3 to 0.8 cm and averaging 5.5 cm thick. According to Ferg (1992), however, the striations of Tizon Wiped may be smoothed to a greater degree than Apache Plain, Tizon Wiped vessels are usually slightly thicker on average than Apache Plain, and vessel form is very different (see Vessel 1 and Vessel 2). These characteristics apply to whole vessels, though, and are difficult to discern when analyzing sherds. Can also closely resemble Paiute ceramics (Southern Paiute Brown Ware) from southeast Nevada, northwest Arizona, and southwest Utah (Baugh and Eddy 1987).


REMARKS: The information included in this type page is an amalgamation of several sources: Baugh and Eddy 1987; Ferg 1992; Gilpin and Phillips 1998; Gifford 1980; Schroeder 1960; Whittlesey et al. 1997; and Wood 1987. Complete citations can be found in the Western Apache-Yavapai Ceramics Bibliography until a Quemado Gray Ware page has been created.

© Copyright 2001 Northern Arizona University.

Apache Plain