San Francisco Mountain Gray Ware



DATES: Pre-700 to 1150 (1200?) A. D.


Construction: Ring-built. In this technique the potter may start with a slab as the base of the vessel and then adds thick coil rings, one at a time, to the body of the vessel.

Thinning: Paddle and anvil.

Finishing: Bowls and jars often show scrape marks. Jar interiors and bowl exteriors may be polished and compacted. Interior jar surfaces are fairly-well smoothed but often exhibit anvil impressions.

Firing: Usually in a reducing atmosphere. Some San Francisco Mountain Gray Ware appears oxidized, suggesting poor control of firing atmosphere.

Temper: Abundant fine quartz and feldspar rich sand, angular to sub-rounded. Occasional black vitreous grains may be present. Fine mica/biotite particles common. Very few volcanic grains present.

Core Color: Carbon streak sometimes present, core usually gray in color.

Clay: Non-basaltic derived clay. Clay likely comes from a sedimentary source. The Kaibab and Moenkopi formations are potential source areas.

Core Texture: Fine.

Fracture: Crumbling.

Surface Appearance: Jar exteriors and bowl interiors may be polished, not slipped. Fine mica or faceted quartz particles glitter on surface.

Surface Color: Generally gray, may also be brown or buff if oxidized during firing. Fugitive Red pigment sometimes present.

Firing Clouds: Rare.

Thickness: Bowls 4 mm to 7 mm.

Weathering and Use Wear Pattern: Surfaces generally not exfoliated.

Vessel Forms: Shallow bowls, jars with handle attached to rim, not added below the rim as in most other southwestern wares.

Rims: Jar and rims are almost always rounded and vary from vertical to somewhat flared. Bowl rims also rounded, usually vertical but occasionally flared.

Decoration and Paint Type: Unpainted or painted with black organic paint. Painted designs appear on interior of bowls, occasionally on jar exteriors. Decoration parallels Tusayan White Ware during the Pueblo I-II period. Exterior vessels surfaces sometimes covered with Fugitive Red pigment.

RANGE: Bounded by the Grand Canyon to the north, grades into Prescott Gray Ware south of Ash Fork and Williams, Arizona, grades into Tizon Brown Ware west of Ash Fork towards Kingman, Arizona, bounded by the Sinagua culture and Alameda Brown Ware to the east near Flagstaff, Arizona.

COMPARISON: Similar to Alameda Brown Ware in that both were manufactured by paddle and anvil. Similar to Tusayan White Ware in that San Francisco Mountain Gray Ware often has painted designs and Fugitive Red pigment.

CULTURAL ASSOCIATION: Prehistoric Cohonina Culture.


Floyd Gray

Floyd Black-on-gray

Deadmans Gray

Deadmans Fugitive Red

Deadmans Black-on-gray

Kirkland Gray

Bill Williams Gray


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