Go to Table of Contents.
About This Publication
List of Tables
List of Illustrations
Introduction to the Site
Research Design
Castle Rock Pueblo in a Regional Context
Settlement Organization
Population Estimates
Faunal Remains
Plant Evidence
Rock Art
The Final Days of Castle Rock Pueblo
Oral History
A Native American Perspective

Artifacts (continued)

Pottery Vessels

Inventory by Form and Ware

Nineteen whole, partial, or reconstructible vessels were collected from various contexts at Castle Rock. Table 11 summarizes the forms and wares of these vessels. Most of the collected vessels were local white wares, and no nonlocal vessels were found.

Vessel Analysis Data

The type, form, condition, and metric data for each collected vessel are listed in Table 12. If the vessel was reconstructed, you can click on the vessel's photo number to see a photograph of it. In this table, multiple entries for a given vessel number indicate that sherds belonging to that vessel were recovered from multiple proveniences.

Vessel Provenience Data

Type, form, condition, and context are listed in Table 13 for each vessel. If the vessel was reconstructed, you can click on the vessel's photo number to see a photograph of it.

Functional Analysis

This section compares data on the sizes of pottery vessels used for preparing and serving food at Castle Rock Pueblo, Sand Canyon Pueblo, and several small hamlets in the Sand Canyon locality. These comparisons are made to explore possible changes in foodways and food consumption groups as villages formed during the thirteenth century A.D. (Adler 1990*1, 1992*3, 1994*1, 1996*3)—that is, to examine whether different kinds of meals were being made and served to different social groups in hamlets and villages of varying sizes during the final period of Puebloan occupation. Such differences might be expected for several reasons. First, it is possible that village formation led to the elaboration of community rituals (see Adams 1989*1), and because such rituals are often associated with meals in the historic pueblos, one might expect ritual elaboration in villages to have affected food preparation and vessel assemblages in these larger settlements. Second, it is possible that larger villages, with their sizable populations, supported more ritual specialists than did smaller villages. If this was the case, one might expect more public ceremonies and more associated communal meals to have occurred in larger villages than in smaller ones. Third, it is possible that the size of the typical food consumption group changed along with village formation, as more relatives and other social groups came to live closer together in a single settlement.

Sand Canyon Pueblo, a very large village approximately 10 km north of Castle Rock (Bradley 1993*1, 1996*1), was the largest thirteenth-century village in the Mesa Verde region (Adler and Johnson 1996*1). It housed a population at least six times larger than that of Castle Rock and was probably a more significant place in the regional social landscape than Castle Rock. One might therefore expect more communal rituals and associated meals to have taken place at Sand Canyon Pueblo than at Castle Rock. Also, since open-air plazas were created in both Sand Canyon and Castle Rock pueblos, and since plazas have not been found in earlier sites or in contemporaneous hamlets, one might expect that more communal rituals and associated meals occurred in these two villages than in earlier or contemporaneous hamlets in the Sand Canyon locality.

Vessel Size Classes

There is a long tradition of research that attempts to relate the relative sizes of different vessel forms to variation in the size and composition of food consumption groups (Blinman 1988*1, 1989*1; Mills 1999*1; Nelson 1981*1, 1985*1; Turner and Lofgren 1966*1). The relative sizes of vessels of various forms, the distributions of vessel sizes within a form class, and the volumes of material that the vessels could hold provide important clues to the sizes of meals that were produced and how meals were eaten. Although the number of complete, partial, and reconstructible vessels collected from Castle Rock was insufficient for such an analysis, the very large collection from Sand Canyon Pueblo can be used to define size classes for vessels of various forms. If there is a reasonably strong relationship between vessel volume and rim diameter for vessel form-size classes in the Sand Canyon Pueblo collection, then rim-arc data from Castle Rock would be a reasonable surrogate for examining the sizes of vessels used in this site.

Sand Canyon Pueblo Vessels

Table 14 presents means and standard deviations for the total volumes, estimated total weights in grams, and rim diameters of form-size classes in the Sand Canyon Pueblo vessel assemblage. Total volume was measured by completely filling each vessel with small birdseed. For vessels that were incomplete, the total weight of each vessel was estimated by dividing the weight of the portion present by the estimated portion present, expressed as a percentage. Size classes within each vessel form class were defined on the basis of k-means cluster analysis of metric variables recorded for that form (Kintigh and Ammerman 1982*1). The most efficient cluster solution—the one that produced the most significant drop in the total distance of individual vessel data points from cluster centroids relative to a solution of one more or fewer clusters—was taken as an indication of natural disjunctions in the distribution of size classes for a particular vessel form. The k-means analysis suggested two size classes for bowls and three size classes each for corrugated jars and white ware jars. A single size class apiece was suggested for all other vessel forms. The vessel size classes identified in this analysis mirror those identified in previous analyses of vessels from thirteenth-century Mesa Verde-region sites (Mills 1989*1:Chapter 5; Rohn 1971*1:Chapter 8).

Maximum Diameter vs. Volume for White Ware Bowls

Figure 1 illustrates the relationship between maximum diameter and total volume for white ware bowls in the Sand Canyon Pueblo vessel assemblage. The relationship is best approximated by the shown quadratic regression line. Two size classes are clearly distinguishable on the basis of these two variables, with a gap in between. Random variation in bowl size around a single mean could not produce such a distribution. Also, direct evidence of pottery manufacture from Castle Rock (paragraphs 68–75) and the Sand Canyon locality tested sites (Pierce and Varien 1999*1:Table 15.17; Thurs et al. 1996*1) suggests that white ware bowls with this bimodal size distribution were made by a large number of nonspecialist potters, strengthening the case that small and large bowls were conceptual and functional categories for the inhabitants of Sand Canyon Pueblo. Finally, the fact that the fit line has a moderate slope suggests that the volume of a white ware bowl can be reasonably estimated on the basis of its maximum diameter, which in most cases occurs at the rim. This suggests that diameter estimates drawn from rim sherds should be sufficient for identifying large and small white ware bowls.

Rim Diameter vs. Volume for Corrugated Jars

Figure 2 illustrates the relationship between rim diameter and total volume for corrugated jars in the Sand Canyon Pueblo vessel assemblage. Although the reason for it is unclear, rim diameter appears to produce a better correlation with volume than does orifice diameter for corrugated jars. The relationship between these variables is best approximated by a quadratic fit line, but no clustering of vessels into distinct groups is evident in this chart, as is apparent for white ware bowls. Although the k-means analysis suggests that breaking up this distribution into three groups efficiently captures the inherent variation, it is less likely that the inhabitants of Sand Canyon Pueblo thought of corrugated jars as having distinct size classes. Corrugated jar size may have related more to the domestic needs of households than to social or cultural convention. Also, since the slope of the fit line is generally shallower for corrugated jars than for white ware bowls, the volume of a corrugated jar cannot be estimated very precisely on the basis of its rim diameter. The relationship seems positive enough, however, to suggest that, in general, corrugated jars with larger rim diameters tended to have larger volumes. Thus, rim diameter estimates drawn from rim sherds should generally reflect the sizes of corrugated jars in the assemblage.

Volumetric Relationships among Vessel Size Classes

Table 15 uses data from the Sand Canyon Pueblo vessel assemblage to examine volumetric relationships among size-form classes of vessels that are generally believed to have been used in the preparation and serving of food. Food was cooked inside corrugated jars, was scooped out of the larger jars using ladles, and was emptied into bowls for serving. Mean orifice diameters in millimeters, mean volumes in milliliters, and mean volumes of the larger size-form classes expressed in units of the mean volumes of ladles and small bowls are presented for these various vessel size-form classes. A mean volume in ladles is not given for small corrugated jars, because their mean orifice diameter was too small to accommodate an average-sized ladle.

This table illustrates how many ladle scoops of food could be contained within corrugated jars of various sizes, how many scoops it would take to fill up large and small bowls, how many small bowls' worth of food were contained in a large bowl, and so forth. If a large bowl was sized to contain a meal for an entire family, and if one large bowl contained enough food to fill five small bowls, then it seems possible that small bowls were used for individual servings. If this was the case, then large and small bowls would have contained the same foods, but the number of people eating out of large and small bowls would have varied. Alternatively, small bowls might have contained side dishes, in which case the same number of people would have been served, but different foods would have been eaten out of large and small bowls. These possibilities are discussed further in paragraphs 62–66.

Rim-Arc Data

White Ware Bowls, White Ware Ladles, and Corrugated Jars, Castle Rock Pueblo

Figure 3 summarizes rim-radius estimates drawn from rim sherds of white ware bowls, white ware ladles, and corrugated jars in the Castle Rock rim sherd assemblage. Pierce and Varien (1999*1) have discussed the methods used to collect these data, along with several possible sources of analytical bias in rim-arc analysis. Several procedures have been used to help control for these biases. First, comparisons of rim-arc diameter estimates with vessel diameter measurements using sherds from reconstructed vessels suggest that rim-arc radius estimates are within 2 cm of the true radius of the parent vessel approximately 80 percent of the time for sherds that encompass at least 20 degrees of arc. Thus, only sherds encompassing 20 degrees of arc or more are considered in the chart, and the radius estimates for these sherds have been grouped into 2-cm-radius classes. Second, the total degrees of arc assigned to each radius class has been used as the measure of abundance, rather than the count or weight of sherds assigned to each radius class. This was done to compensate for the tendency for smaller-diameter vessels to break into fewer rim sherds encompassing more degrees of arc relative to larger-diameter vessels.

In the Sand Canyon Pueblo vessel assemblage, ladles have a mean rim radius of 5.7 cm, small bowls a mean rim radius of 7.95 cm, and large bowls a mean rim radius of 14.2 cm. These means are precisely mirrored in the rim-arc data from Castle Rock Pueblo, indicating that, in general, the inhabitants of Castle Rock used the same kinds and sizes of bowls and ladles as the inhabitants of Sand Canyon Pueblo.

The rim-radius distribution for corrugated jars from Castle Rock does not closely mirror the size classes derived from k-means analysis of Sand Canyon Pueblo vessel data, which suggests that corrugated jars in these two villages might have had different size distributions.

It is difficult to tell from a comparison of the Sand Canyon vessel data and the Castle Rock rim-arc data whether bowl size distributions in the systemic assemblages of these two sites—the numbers and sizes of vessels in use at any one time—were similar. The Sand Canyon (and Castle Rock) vessel assemblage probably underestimates the number of small bowls in the systemic assemblage, because the vessel assemblage was collected primarily from abandonment contexts, and smaller bowls were lighter and more easily carried away from the site at abandonment. The Castle Rock rim-arc data, on the other hand, may overestimate the number of small bowls in the systemic assemblage because of the bias against large-diameter vessels inherent in rim-arc analysis (see Pierce and Varien 1999*1). Comparison of rim-arc data from the two sites, however, may give some indication of the relative importance of large and small bowls in these sites. This comparison is made in paragraphs 53–54 below.

White Ware Bowls, Sand Canyon Locality Sites

Figure 4 compares rim-arc data for white ware bowls from Castle Rock and Sand Canyon pueblos, along with a number of smaller, tree-ring-dated thirteenth-century sites in the Sand Canyon locality, using the same data conventions described in paragraph 49. A bimodal distribution of bowl sizes is clearly evident for Sand Canyon and Castle Rock Pueblos, both of which are late-thirteenth-century villages. The modes, at 8 cm and 14 cm, correspond closely with the 7.95-cm and 14.2-cm mean rim radii for small and large bowls in the Sand Canyon Pueblo vessel assemblage (see paragraphs 43–48). The large size mode is slightly more pronounced at Sand Canyon Pueblo.

The early-thirteenth-century small sites (Kenzie Dawn Hamlet, Lillian's Site, Shorlene's Site, and Roy's Ruin) and late-thirteenth-century small sites (Saddlehorn Hamlet, Troy's Tower, Lester's Site, and Lookout House), on the other hand, have less well defined size modes in their rim-radius distributions. The large size mode is less developed, and smaller bowls are more variable in size than is the case for the larger villages. These data may suggest that distinct white ware bowl size categories developed as villages formed in the Sand Canyon locality. Since white ware bowls were serving vessels, it is possible that the formalization of these size modes and the increased frequency of large bowls in villages were related to changes in the way food was served and consumed in villages relative to hamlets. This and other possible explanations are discussed in paragraphs 59–66, and possible shortcomings in the available data are addressed in paragraphs 55–56.

White Ware Bowl Rim Sherd Weight Distributions, Sand Canyon Locality Sites

Figure 5 presents box plots of weights in grams for white ware bowl rim sherds for the same groups of Sand Canyon locality sites discussed in paragraphs 53–54. In these plots, the box represents the midspread (middle 50 percent of cases) for each weight distribution, the thick line inside the box represents the median, and the tails illustrate the range of weights for each distribution. For sherds of roughly equal thickness, weight is proportional to the overall size of a sherd, and thus sherd weight distributions can be taken as proxies for sherd size distributions. The chart shows that bowl rim sherds tend to be largest at Sand Canyon Pueblo, followed by Castle Rock, then by the late-thirteenth-century small sites, and finally by the early-thirteenth-century small sites. Comparison of these results with those presented in Figure 4 shows that the degree of large size mode development in bowl rim radius estimates correlates with sherd size among the Sand Canyon locality sites. That is, Sand Canyon Pueblo has the most pronounced large bowl size mode and the largest sherds overall, whereas the early-thirteenth-century small sites have the least pronounced large bowl size mode and the smallest sherds overall. Since rim-arc analysis is biased against large-diameter vessels, and this negative bias becomes more pronounced as sherd size decreases, the differences in bowl radius distributions shown in Figure 4 may relate in part to sherd size; however, intrinsic differences in bowl sizes across these four groups of sites may still exist, because the data in Figure 4 partly control for sherd size by excluding rim sherds preserving fewer than 20 degrees of arc. In addition, the average thickness of white ware bowl sherds is known to have increased over time, making it difficult to control for changing sherd thickness with these data. What we really want to know is whether the mean degrees of arc encompassed by sherds selected for Figure 4 varies across the four site groups. These data are considered in paragraph 56 below.

White Ware Bowl Rim Sherd Size Distributions, Sand Canyon Locality Sites

Figure 6 presents the mean degrees of arc encompassed by the white ware bowl rim sherds assigned to each radius class in paragraphs 53–54, using the same four site groups as in that section. If sherd size is primarily responsible for the variation in large size mode development in Figure 4, then one would expect Castle Rock Pueblo sherds to be significantly larger on average than sherds from hamlets for the 14-cm radius class, the class at which the large size mode occurs in Figure 4. Although Sand Canyon Pueblo sherds do tend to be larger than those from the other sites at the radius of the large size mode, there are no significant differences between rim sherds from Castle Rock and those from the small Sand Canyon locality sites, which suggests that the pattern illustrated in Figure 4 relates to real differences in bowl size distributions among these site groups.

Corrugated Jars, Sand Canyon Locality Sites

Figure 7 presents rim-radius estimate distributions for corrugated jar rim sherds among the four groups of sites discussed in paragraphs 53–54, using the same conventions described in that section and in paragraph 49. Although the relationship between rim diameter and volume is weaker for corrugated jars than for white ware bowls, it is still generally positive, suggesting that corrugated jars with larger rim diameters tended to be larger overall (see paragraph 46). The effects of sherd size notwithstanding, this chart suggests that inhabitants of Sand Canyon Pueblo used more large corrugated jars than did inhabitants of other Sand Canyon locality sites. The common occurrence of sooting on the outsides of corrugated jars indicates that such vessels were typically used for cooking. If more large-volume corrugated jars were in fact used at Sand Canyon Pueblo, it would indicate that more large meals were prepared there than at other Sand Canyon locality sites. Since household organization appears to have been similar at Sand Canyon and Castle Rock, the preparation of more large meals at Sand Canyon Pueblo may be an indication that more communal feasts occurred there. Driver (1996*1) has developed such a hypothesis on the basis of higher proportions of artiodactyl (deer and elk) remains at Sand Canyon Pueblo than at other Sand Canyon locality sites. Unfortunately, the sherd size effects discussed in paragraph 58 below cannot be ruled out for the corrugated jar rim sherd data, and as a result these data offer only equivocal support for Driver's hypothesis.

Corrugated Jar Sherd Size Distributions, Sand Canyon Locality Sites

Figure 8 presents the mean degrees of arc encompassed by corrugated rim sherds assigned to each radius class shown in Figure 7, using the same four site groups as in that section and in paragraphs 53–54. For the 12-cm-radius class—the interval for which differences among the site groups are most marked in Figure 7—the percentage of the total degrees of arc assigned to the interval is correlated with the mean degrees of arc encompassed by sherds assigned to that interval across the four site groups. Thus, the effects of sherd size may be partly responsible for the apparent emphasis on larger vessels in the Sand Canyon Pueblo collection.

Exterior Paint on White Ware Bowls, Sand Canyon Locality Sites

One possible explanation for the development of distinct size modes and the increased frequency of large vessels among white ware bowls in thirteenth-century Sand Canyon locality villages is that village formation led to changes in the way food was presented and consumed. These changes in presentation and consumption patterns might also have affected the characteristic ways in which these vessels were viewed, leading to changes in the way they were decorated. Prior to the thirteenth century, most inhabitants of the Sand Canyon locality lived in small hamlets containing one or, at most, a few households (Adler 1992*3). Ethnographic accounts (e.g., Stevenson 1904*1:369) suggest that traditional Pueblo meals involved small groups of people sitting around one or more communal serving bowls, scooping food out of them with their fingers. As villages formed during the thirteenth century, an increasing number of meals were probably consumed in contexts that exposed bowl exteriors to view by more distant social relations. In historic and modern Pueblo villages, plazas are settings for community events including dances, ceremonies, feasts, and the redistribution of food. Informal plazas were created inside the enclosing walls of both Sand Canyon and Castle Rock Pueblos, suggesting that analogous events might have taken place in these villages. If so, prepared food would have been carried into the plaza by participants in the event, giving spectators an opportunity to view vessels from the side. Also, everyday household meals eaten outdoors during mild weather would have exposed bowl exteriors to viewing by neighbors. Thus, bowl exteriors might have been viewed much more often in villages than in hamlets.

Ancient Pueblo pottery vessels tended to be decorated most intensively on areas that had relatively high contextual visibility (for a cross-cultural perspective on this phenomenon, see Carr [1995*1:185-215]). The decorative field on white ware jars was usually the upper half of the spherical body, which would have been more visible than the lower half when the vessel was sitting on the ground, a floor, or a bench. The interiors of white ware bowls were also more intensively decorated and during meals would have been viewed from above as food was eaten. Given this correlation between contextual visibility and intensity of decoration, one might expect the exterior surfaces of white ware bowls to have been decorated more intensively in villages than in earlier and contemporaneous hamlets. Table 16 presents these data for Sand Canyon Pueblo, Castle Rock Pueblo, and several tree-ring-dated thirteenth-century hamlets in the Sand Canyon locality. Only continuous exterior paint, in the form of circumferential lines or band designs, is tabulated here, because the proportion of sherds with continuous exterior paint mirrors the proportion of vessels with such designs, whereas the frequency of bowls with isolated exterior designs would be significantly underestimated by sherds.

These data show, first, that a higher frequency of white ware bowls with continuous exterior designs was broken during the occupation of Sand Canyon Pueblo than that of Castle Rock; second, that the frequency of painted bowl exteriors increased significantly during the period of village formation; and, third, that for the most part, more such vessels were broken at the villages than at contemporaneous hamlets. Also note that among the hamlets contemporaneous with Sand Canyon and Castle Rock pueblos, the two sites with the highest proportion of exterior painted bowls—Lookout House and Lester's Site—were located within 300 m of Sand Canyon Pueblo. The other two contemporaneous hamlets, Troy's Tower and Saddlehorn Hamlet, lay more than a kilometer away from the nearest village (Varien 1999*1) and had far fewer bowls with painted exteriors in their assemblages. These data are consistent with the notion that the overall relative contextual visibility of white ware bowl exteriors was increased in village contexts and that potters responded to this increased visibility by decorating bowl exteriors more often and more elaborately. Possible relationships between this changing decorative treatment and the formalization of small and large serving bowls are discussed in paragraphs 62–66.

Summary of Functional Analysis

Data on the sizes and uses of vessel forms in Sand Canyon locality sites suggest that white ware bowls, white ware ladles, and corrugated jars formed a functionally interrelated complex. Meals were prepared in corrugated jars and were scooped out of these jars and into serving bowls using ladles. Rim-arc data suggest that inhabitants of Sand Canyon and Castle Rock pueblos tended to make bowls of two distinct sizes. Such distinct size modes were not emphasized in the pottery assemblages of contemporaneous and earlier thirteenth-century hamlets in the Sand Canyon locality. Relatively more large bowls also appear to have been broken in thirteenth-century villages than in earlier and contemporaneous hamlets. More large corrugated jars may also have been used at Sand Canyon Pueblo than at other Sand Canyon locality sites, but sherd size effects that could contribute to this pattern in the available data cannot be ruled out. Finally, it appears that bowl exteriors were decorated in accordance with their relative visibility in various settlement contexts. Bowl exteriors were decorated most often at Sand Canyon Pueblo, followed by Castle Rock and contemporaneous hamlets close to villages, then by contemporaneous hamlets farther away from villages, and finally by hamlets dating prior to the era of village formation, where bowl exteriors were only rarely decorated.

One possible explanation for these related changes in serving bowls is that village formation was associated with an intensification of communal ritual (Driver 1996*1; Muir 1999*1), and this intensification was associated with changes in the ways certain meals were served and consumed in villages compared with how meals were served and consumed in earlier and contemporaneous hamlets. Communal rituals probably did not originate in thirteenth-century villages, but when such ceremonies occurred in village contexts, it would have been relatively easy for inhabitants of the village and other sites nearby to prepare a meal to be taken to the plaza for consumption during the event, following the lines of Blinman's (1989*1) "potluck" model of communal feasting. Serving and consuming food in the context of communal ceremonies in plazas would have changed two aspects of meals. First, if food was eaten by spectators watching a ceremony, it would have been difficult for them to eat around a communal serving bowl and watch the event at the same time. Second, if food was presented to participants in ceremonies or was served to spectators, then the exteriors of the bowls in which it was served would have been visible to other, more distant social relations attending the event—much more so than in hamlet-based meals. The development of distinct bowl size modes may relate to the first change, and the increased intensity of exterior decoration to the second.

If large serving bowls could contain enough food to feed an entire family, and if small bowls were one-fifth the size of large bowls, then it may be that distinct bowl sizes developed along with villages to facilitate the serving and consumption of meals at communal feasts. That is, small bowls would have been formalized as individual serving vessels, and large bowls as communal serving vessels. It may be unjustified, however, to assume that food was actually consumed by spectators watching public ceremonies. In some modern pueblos, food presented or redistributed during a ceremony is not eaten in public view but is taken back to individual households for consumption later. If public ceremonies in the Sand Canyon locality took this form, then individual serving vessels would have been unnecessary and perhaps even contrary to a communal concept. This scenario would not necessarily affect the visibility argument of the hypothesis, but it would undermine the explanation of bimodal bowl size distributions. On the other hand, the modern Pueblo practice may simply indicate that the character of communal meals has changed since the thirteenth century.

A second possible explanation for these changes in pottery vessel sizes and decoration is that food consumption groups grew larger as villages formed and as more distant relatives came to live in a single settlement. The average number of rooms per kiva in kiva suites and the average number of mealing bins in corn-grinding areas did not change appreciably between A.D. 1150 and 1280 (Ortman 1998*2:Table 9.7), suggesting that household composition itself did not change significantly as villages formed. Whether inhabitants of neighboring kiva suites in villages ate together more often than did the inhabitants of adjacent hamlets in earlier times is unknown.

A third possible explanation for the bimodal bowl size distribution, suggested by members of Crow Canyon's Native American Advisory Group, is that different kinds of food might have been served in vessels of these two sizes. If the sizes of bowls were related to the weight and richness of the foods served in them, it remains to be seen what kinds of changes in cuisine might have coincided with both village formation and the development of distinct bowl sizes. As of yet there is little evidence in cooking technology or in the botanical and faunal records of dramatic changes in food-preparation techniques or in the types of foods prepared as villages formed in the Sand Canyon locality. Also, if a range of foods was prepared, and if the sizes of serving bowls were tailored to the characteristics of different foods, then one might expect a range of bowl sizes to have been made to accommodate them, especially given the evidence that most households produced their own pottery (see paragraphs 68–69). Obviously, firm explanations for the patterns identified in this analysis require further research.

Pottery Production and Exchange

This section summarizes direct and indirect evidence of pottery production at Castle Rock Pueblo and examines the nature of the local and interregional pottery exchange networks in which Castle Rock participated. Direct evidence of pottery production at Castle Rock includes manufacturing tools (polishing stones), raw materials (potting clay), and unfinished vessels (unfired sherds). A fourth potential item of direct evidence is pottery scrapers, but although such artifacts have been collected from other sites in southwestern Colorado (e.g., Wilson 1988*2:Table A.6), no definite examples have been identified in the Castle Rock modified sherd assemblage. Indirect evidence of pottery production and exchange consists of temper and compositional data from white wares found at Castle Rock and several other villages and hamlets in southwestern Colorado. Evidence of long-distance pottery exchange consists of identifiable nonlocal sherds from Castle Rock and other sites in southwestern Colorado.

Direct Evidence of Pottery Making

The amount and distribution of direct evidence of pottery making can be used to assess the nature of pottery production at Castle Rock. If pottery making was an unspecialized, household-level industry, then raw materials and tools associated with it should occur occasionally throughout the site. On the other hand, if pottery production was specialized, such that relatively few people made most of the pottery used in the village, then direct evidence should be relatively abundant in a few locations and absent in most others.

The evidence from Castle Rock suggests that white ware production was unspecialized. Direct evidence of white ware manufacture is widely distributed at the site, despite the fact that most structures received only limited testing. Because Castle Rock Pueblo was not completely excavated, it remains possible that concentrations of direct evidence remain to be found in areas that were not excavated. Nevertheless, the fact that direct evidence was found in so many of the tested structures suggests that white ware production was a household-based, part-time activity. This pattern has been noted at numerous other sites in southwestern Colorado (Errickson 1993*1; Wilson 1988*2, 1991*1). In contrast, little direct evidence of gray ware production was found. This is partly due to the fact that polishing stones, base molds, and pottery scrapers are not required for gray ware manufacture. Also, despite the fact that raw igneous rock, which could have been crushed for use as white ware or gray ware temper, was widespread at Castle Rock, it is impossible to determine which rock samples were used for this purpose. Nevertheless, no unfired corrugated sherds or coarse-tempered raw clay samples were identified in the Castle Rock collection, raising the possibility that gray ware production was organized quite differently from white ware production.

Polishing Stones

Polishing stones are small, very smooth, and very hard stones or pebbles that exhibit evidence of abrasive wear. Traces of clay were found adhering to the surfaces of a few such stones from Sand Canyon locality sites, indicating that at least some of these stones were used for polishing the surfaces of white ware vessels (Pierce and Varien 1999*1). It is unknown whether polishing stones had additional uses.


Table 17 gives the distribution of polishing stones from the excavations at Castle Rock Pueblo by study unit and by vertical position. It shows that most polishing stones were found in the lower fill and on floor surfaces of structures. The locations of study units in which polishing stones were found indicate that polishing stones were widely distributed across the site (Database Map 509).

Raw Materials

Table 18 lists the types of stone out of which polishing stones were made. It shows that polishing stones were made of high-quality, fine-grained stone. Even if some of these stones were found locally, they were rare and required some effort to procure.

Potting Clay and Unfired Sherds

The strongest direct evidence of pottery making consists of sherds from vessels that had not yet been fired when the site was abandoned. Several such sherds were found in various locations at Castle Rock Pueblo. A few of these are fine-tempered and have the smooth surfaces characteristic of white ware vessels; none possesses the corrugated surface and coarse temper of gray ware vessels. Raw clay suitable for use in pottery making was also found in several locations at Castle Rock. Most of these samples are of raw, untempered clay, although some were tempered or had been molded into balls or other shapes. No samples of raw clay were recognized as containing the coarse temper characteristic of gray ware pastes.

Table 19 summarizes the distribution of potting clay and unfired sherds by study unit and vertical position. Most samples were found in the lower fills, on floors, and in features of structures, indicating that pottery making likely occurred within those structures. Importantly, these artifacts were found in at least one room or kiva in 10 of the 16 kiva suites defined for Castle Rock Pueblo. If we were to add polishing stones as a less certain indicator to this distribution, then 12 of the 16 kiva suites would contain direct evidence for pottery making. Direct evidence has not been identified from Kiva Suites 101, 102, 204, and 405, but these suites received very limited testing (kiva suites are numbered according to the structure number of the kiva around which the above-ground rooms are arranged). Direct evidence of pottery making was found in nearly every kiva suite in which significant excavations took place, suggesting that nearly every kiva suite had a resident potter living in it.

Raw clay and unfired sherds were found in seven of the 16 kivas at Castle Rock, including the square kiva, Structure 103. They occurred on the floors and inside features of three kivas—Structures 104, 406, and 125. If polishing stones are included as a less certain indicator of pottery production, then nine of the 16 kivas at Castle Rock contain direct evidence of pottery manufacture, including the potentially oversized kiva, Structure 105. In all historic pueblos, pottery was made primarily by women, and kivas functioned primarily as ceremonial structures used by men. That so much direct evidence of pottery making should occur in kivas suggests that either the use of kivas or the sexual division of labor has changed since the thirteenth century. Since corn-grinding areas are also found in a significant proportion of Mesa Verde–region small kivas (Cater and Chenault 1988*1; Ortman 1998*2), it appears more likely that the functions of kivas have changed and that small kivas were a component of residential architecture during the occupation of Castle Rock (see also Lipe 1989*1).

Other Clay Artifacts

Table 20 lists a small number of unusual fired and unfired clay objects from Castle Rock that might or might not have been parts of pottery vessels. Most of these objects were found in secondary refuse or midden deposits, suggesting that they represent waste products of pottery making.

Local Pottery Exchange

In this section, temper data for white wares at Castle Rock and several other late Pueblo III (A.D. 1250–1280) hamlets and villages in southwestern Colorado are used to examine the question of local pottery exchange. Temper data have not been collected for gray wares. This analysis builds on previous studies of local pottery exchange in the Sand Canyon locality (Glowacki 1995*1; Glowacki et al. 1995*1, 1998*1; Thurs et al. 1996*1) and other areas in southwestern Colorado (Glowacki et al. 1997*1) using instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA) data as well as temper data. These studies have identified distinct white ware manufacturing tracts and have documented modest levels of vessel movement between sites. The temper data discussed in this section generally support and amplify these conclusions.

Temper Data

A sample of white ware bowl rim sherds from several Sand Canyon locality sites and additional villages and hamlets in southwestern Colorado was analyzed for temper using a binocular microscope (Table 21). All the analyzed sites are associated with tree-ring dates or architectural features indicative of habitation during the late Pueblo III period, A.D. 1250–1280. Each sherd was classified on the basis of the most abundant type of nonplastic inclusion mixed with the clay during paste preparation. The four categories identified were crushed sandstone, quartz sand, crushed igneous rock, and crushed sherd. The results are tabulated by count and by the proportion of each category within the sample from each site. Sample sizes vary in this data set from 15 to 391 sherds.

Two of the four temper types—crushed sandstone and crushed sherd—were readily available to potters in all these sites. The distributions of quartz sand and igneous rock, on the other hand, were much more circumscribed. Of the natural distributions of these two tempering agents, that of igneous rock is the better known. Igneous rock originates in the intrusive volcanic mountains of the Four Corners area, including Sleeping Ute Mountain and the San Juan Mountains in Colorado, the Abajo Mountains in Utah, and the Carrizo and Chuska mountains in Arizona and New Mexico. Weathered igneous cobbles suitable for use as pottery temper can be found on terraces along the watercourses that drain these mountains. The closest known sources of igneous rock for the sites discussed here are Ute Mountain and McElmo Creek, located just south of Castle Rock Pueblo. The sites in the table are arranged according to the proportion of sherds in each sample tempered with igneous rock, in descending order. This order closely mirrors the distance of each site from the center of Ute Mountain. The site farthest from Ute Mountain, Hedley Main Ruin, is approximately equidistant from Ute Mountain and the Abajo Mountains in southeastern Utah.

Cross-cultural data compiled by Arnold (1985*1:51–56) suggest that potters in small-scale societies tend to travel no more than 6 to 9 km to obtain temper for pottery making. The top seven sites listed in the table, including sites from the Cowboy Wash area (5MT9943) and the Sand Canyon locality, lie close enough to Ute Mountain for their inhabitants to have procured igneous temper directly and incorporated it into their pottery. Since other temper sources were readily available to potters in these areas, the proximity of these sites to Ute Mountain does not necessarily mean that their inhabitants made all their vessels with igneous temper. Also, since the analyzed sherds are from broken vessels that could have been exchanged several times during their use lives, igneous-tempered sherds found at a site could have been made by a potter at another site within the area of direct igneous temper procurement. The cross-cultural limit on the distance that potters are willing to travel to obtain temper, however, does suggest that nearly all the igneous-tempered sherds in the samples from these 11 sites were made within a zone extending 6 to 9 km around the edge of Ute Mountain. Igneous-tempered sherds from sites outside the Ute Mountain source area could have come from a different source area, but if so, they would have come from even farther away. (The Dolores River valley is not a likely source for the single igneous-tempered sherd from Yellow Jacket Pueblo included in this table, because the Dolores River is more than 9 km from the site, and thirteenth-century settlement along the river was minimal to nonexistent [Kane 1986*1].) There may also be igneous-tempered sherds at sites within the Ute Mountain source area that were made using rock from a different source, but owing to the rarity of igneous-tempered sherds at sites outside the Ute Mountain source area, this seems unlikely. So it seems reasonable to assume that nearly all the igneous-tempered sherds found in these sites were made within the Ute Mountain source area.

Igneous-Tempered White Wares in Late Pueblo III Sites

Figure 9 presents the proportion of white ware sherds containing igneous temper in the sites listed in Table 21. The x-axis value is the distance in kilometers of each site from the geographical center of Ute Mountain. The hamlet with the highest frequency of igneous temper is Site 5MT9943, located in the Cowboy Wash area on the Southern Ute Piedmont. The hamlet closest to Castle Rock Pueblo is Saddlehorn Hamlet (5MT262), and the hamlets that cluster close to Sand Canyon Pueblo include Lookout House (5MT10459), Lester's Site (5MT10246), and Troy's Tower (5MT3951). Two interesting patterns are apparent in this chart. First, as the distance of a site from Ute Mountain increases, the frequency of igneous-tempered pottery generally decreases. Second, at any given distance from the most likely source, smaller hamlets tend to have higher proportions of igneous-tempered white wares than larger villages. A possible explanation for the second pattern is discussed in this section. The first pattern is considered further in paragraph 83.

One possible interpretation for the elevated frequencies of igneous-tempered pottery in hamlets relative to villages is that village inhabitants, taken as a whole, exchanged pottery more widely than did inhabitants of hamlets. All of the hamlets, as well as Sand Canyon and Castle Rock pueblos, lie within the Ute Mountain source area, and therefore their inhabitants could have made igneous-tempered vessels. But since many more people lived in Sand Canyon locality villages than in each nearby hamlet, it is likely that the social relationships of village inhabitants, taken as a whole, defined larger social networks that encompassed greater geographical areas than did the networks defined by the social relationships of hamlet inhabitants. If there was no marked directionality to these networks, then the larger social networks of villages would have been more likely to include more potters who lived outside the Ute Mountain source area than would the social networks of hamlets. Effectively random movement of vessels through social networks of these differing sizes would have resulted in a net depletion of igneous-tempered vessels in Sand Canyon locality village assemblages, because more igneous-tempered vessels would have moved out of them than into them, relative to hamlets.

Fall-off Pattern of Igneous-Tempered White Wares, Late Pueblo III Sites

Figure 10 presents the same data as those in Figure 9 on differently scaled axes: the x-axis presents the squared distance of each site from Ute Mountain in kilometers, and the y-axis presents the log of the proportion of igneous-tempered sherds in the sample from each site. To accommodate a logarithmic scale, the proportion of igneous-tempered sherds from Hedley Main Ruin was changed from 0 percent to .001 percent. This scaling produces a strong correlation between the data and a linear regression line. Thus, the fall-off pattern of igneous-tempered pottery with distance from the most likely source closely approximates a linear log/square relationship. This pattern of decay is typical of down-the-line exchange patterns, in which artifacts diffuse across a social landscape through informal exchange networks. Hodder and Orton (1976*1:Chapter 3) showed that linear log/square decay patterns are closely approximated by random-walk computer models, in which a commodity moves a certain distance in a random direction and is exchanged a certain number of times before being discarded and entering the archaeological record. That the dispersal of igneous-tempered white ware vessels is consistent with a random-walk process suggests that thirteenth-century villages did not function as redistribution centers for white ware vessels. It is also consistent with the interpretation offered in paragraphs 81–82 and with the evidence for widespread, unspecialized, household-level production of white ware pottery. Market redistribution is unnecessary for such a commodity. Given the distance-decay data, a more likely mechanism for the dispersal of white wares was gift exchange among relatives and friends who lived in nearby habitations.

Long-Distance Pottery Exchange

Catalog of Nonlocal Pottery Sherds

A small percentage of the pottery sherds found at Castle Rock was of nonlocal manufacture, judging from paste, temper, and color characteristics. Table 22 catalogs these items by provenience designation (PD). Most of the nonlocal sherds found at Castle Rock are San Juan Red Ware, the production of which appears to have been centered in southeastern Utah (but see Glowacki et al. [1997*1] for possible evidence of red ware production using alluvial clays from McElmo Creek). The term Indeterminate Local Red refers to indeterminate San Juan Red Ware, with local being used to distinguish such sherds from red wares made even farther away from the Mesa Verde region. San Juan Red Ware is not known to have been made after A.D. 1150. Pierce and Varien (1999*1) argue that the presence of San Juan Red Ware sherds at Pueblo III sites reflects the scavenging of red ware sherds from earlier middens by thirteenth-century inhabitants. Other nonlocal sherds include Tsegi Orange Ware (including Tusayan Black-on-red) and White Mountain Red Ware (including St. Johns Polychrome). The identified nonlocal sherds suggest trade connections to the west, southwest, and south.

No nonlocal white wares or gray wares were identified. Tusayan and Chuska white wares and Chuska Gray Ware are easily distinguishable from local sherds, so their absence in the Castle Rock collection is probably real. There are also no Fremont, Pueblo IV, or historic period pottery types in the Castle Rock collection. It is difficult to distinguish between Tusayan, Cibola, and Mesa Verde gray wares, because many of the same tempers were used in all three. It is also difficult to distinguish between Pueblo III Cibola and Mesa Verde white wares, owing to overlapping temper, paste, paint, and design characteristics. In general, gray wares and white wares were assumed to be local Mesa Verde wares if no distinctive characteristics of other pottery traditions were identifiable. There could, therefore, be a few nonlocal gray wares and white wares in the Castle Rock assemblage that were indistinguishable from local sherds. Compositional analysis of sherd pastes might distinguish such sherds, if they indeed exist in the collection, but because many of the same geological strata are exposed in the San Juan basin as in the Mesa Verde region, even compositional data might prove inconclusive.

Distribution of Nonlocal Sherds by Study Unit

Table 23 summarizes the distribution of demonstrably nonlocal sherds (San Juan Red Ware and other nonlocal red wares) at Castle Rock by study unit. For an explanation of the study unit codes, see the on-line field manual. Nonstructure 9 is a surface with a pit feature underlying a portion of Nonstructure 1 south of Block 100. All sherds, both local and nonlocal, from each study unit are included in the column headed "Total Sherds." All but two of the 32 nonlocal sherds (those in PDs 739 and 978 in Table 22, which are from Arbitrary Unit 300 and Structure 402, respectively) were found in excavation units south of the central butte. This pattern probably reflects the fact that most excavations occurred on the larger, southern side of the site. Nonlocal sherds were most common in secondary refuse or midden deposits, where general artifact densities were high. Fewer than 1 percent of the sherds found at Castle Rock were of nonlocal origin, indicating that long-distance pottery exchange was exceedingly rare.

Nonlocal Sherds from Other Sites in Southwestern Colorado

Table 24 compares the proportions of nonlocal sherds collected from Castle Rock and other sites in southwestern Colorado. The sites are arranged first according to location, second according to core occupation date as determined by the excavators of each site, and third according to the frequency of nonlocal sherds in each assemblage by count. Although weight would be the better measure of abundance for comparing these assemblages, weight figures are unavailable for many of the sites, necessitating the use of counts. As a result, sherd size effects and analytical biases cannot be ruled out for these data.

All of the listed sites other than Castle Rock are small hamlets, with the exception of Escalante Ruin, which has been labeled a "Chacoan great house." The piedmont area south of Ute Mountain is the only part of southwestern Colorado in which nonlocal sherds occur as more than 5 percent of total pottery assemblages. This area is on the periphery of the Mesa Verde culture area and lies closest to other centers of ancient Puebloan culture. Most of the nonlocal sherds from Site 5MT10206, for example, are from the Chuska Mountains area in northwestern New Mexico. In other areas of southwestern Colorado, the frequency of imported pottery tends to decrease through time. Within the Sand Canyon locality, imported pottery appears to be no more common at Castle Rock than at contemporaneous hamlets, suggesting that villages did not function as nodes for long-distance exchange networks, similar to findings for local pottery exchange in paragraph 83.

The relative contribution of San Juan Red Ware and other nonlocal sherds to nonlocal sherd totals varies along geographical lines. The western Montezuma Valley is closest to centers of San Juan Red Ware production, and imported pottery in these collections is dominated by San Juan Red Ware. In contrast, the eastern Montezuma Valley and Southern Ute Piedmont are farther removed from San Juan Red Ware production centers, and their nonlocal assemblages are dominated by sherds from other areas. Nonlocal sherds of all kinds are rarest in the Sand Canyon locality, which lies in the center of the Mesa Verde region and is most distant from adjacent regions.

The extreme rarity of imported sherds in late Pueblo III sites suggests that inhabitants of the Mesa Verde region had very few interactions with Pueblo people in other parts of the Southwest during the final decades of the A.D. 1200s. Implications of this finding are further discussed in paragraphs 129–131.

Back (paragraphs 1–37).

Next (paragraphs 91–185).

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