Technological Analysis of Pueblo I Lead Glazed Ceramics from the Upper San Juan Basin, Colorado (ca.700-850 CE)
KeywordsMaterials Science & Engineering
AdvisorOdegaard, Nancy N.
Killick, David J.
Committee ChairOdegaard, Nancy N.
Killick, David J.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe production of lead glaze paints has intrigued Southwestern archaeologists since the 1930s, and significant efforts have been dedicated to the study of this technology by researchers interested in the Pueblo IV (ca. 1275-1400 CE) glazes. In this dissertation I explore the technology of production of the earliest glaze paints produced in the Southwest: the Pueblo I (ca. 700-850 CE) glaze paints from the Upper San Juan. These glaze paints were produced nearly 500 years before the later and well studied Pueblo IV glaze paints, and these technologies represent two separate, independent instances of invention of glaze technology in the prehistoric Southwest. The unique aspect of prehistoric Southwestern glazes is that they were developed as paints, thus serving as decorations. Glaze paints are culturally and technologically significant because it is in the production of the paint that potters are innovating and experimenting with materials. This dissertation presents evidence for a patterned technological behavior in the production of Pueblo I glaze paints - while there is no evidence of specialization, there is evidence for shared technological knowledge regarding other aspects of production. The lack of control over the variability in visual appearance as related to the variability in compositions indicates that it is unlikely that any differences in composition represent intentional technological choices; therefore, Pueblo I potters were not using standardized recipes in the production of glaze paints. I argue that potters were aware of the effect of applying a lead-based paint to the ceramic, thus indicating intentionality, but could not control all of the variables that are involved in the production of a ceramic ware. To understand the mechanisms of invention, and later abandonment, of this technology, I looked for clues in the history of ceramic production in the area, and coupled it with a study of the social and environmental constraints placed on the production. My research suggests that the production of the Pueblo I glaze paints, while not as specialized and widespread as that of the later glaze paints, is a significant technological component of the sequence of ceramic production in the Southwest.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Materials Science & Engineering