Ceramic Variability, Subsistence Economies, and Settlement Patterns in the Jornada Mogollon


This paper examines the contrast in subsistence and settlement adaptations in early pithouse villages between the highland and lowland regions of southern New Mexico and trans-Pecos Texas, notably more substantial pithouses and an earlier increase in agricultural dependence in the highlands than the lowlands, from the point of view of ceramic variability. Since subsistence and settlement patterns influence ceramic manufacture, we test for differences between highland and lowland utilitarian wares (brown wares) that parallel the region’s subsistencesettlement contrast. Evaluating ceramic mineralogy, we demonstrate that our highland sample brown wares were locally made and therefore distinct from adjacent lowland brown wares. We then compare the ceramic technology from the two elevation zones, hypothesizing that technological characteristics of highland pottery should foreshadow changes in lowland ceramics by several hundred years since agricultural dependence increased this much earlier in the highlands. We do not find significant technological differences between contemporary highland and lowland brown wares and suggest that assumptions linking ceramic technology and agricultural dependence may need to be refined.


Earth Systems Research Center, Anthropology

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KIVA: Journal of Southwestern Anthropology and History


Taylor & Francis

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