Ceramic Field Identification Manual
Agua Fria National Monument Project

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Jeddito Yellow Ware - Type: Awatovi Black-on-yellow



DATES: A.D. 1315 – 1375* (*end date is flexible due to transitional nature of the type with Jeddito Black-on-yellow)


GEOGRAPHIC RANGE: Produced in the Hopi villages, especially at the site of Awatovi on Antelope Mesa (Bishop 1988), and traded throughout north, central and east-central Arizona


Construction: Coil built.

Thinning: Thinned by scraping

Finishing: Exteriors of jars, as well as the interiors and exteriors of bowls, are very smooth and polished. No slip or wash is present. Jar interiors are very finely smoothed, with barely visible horizontal wiping striations. Jar neck interiors are also smoothed, just as finely as on the vessel exteriors, from the rim to the upper portion of the vessel body (Smith 1971: 478).

Firing: Fired in an oxidizing environment (Shepard 1971: 182).

Temper: Fairly homogenous, varying in absolute and relative quantities of constituents. Tempering materials include both quartz sand and sherd, present in the following relative quantities: sand, sand > sherd, and sand = sherd. Temper also includes red ferruginous particles that may be naturally present in the clay. Temper amounts, relative to clay, range from 10% to 40% and the modal size of temper inclusions ranges from <0.10 to .25 mm.

Core Color: While the paste color of most specimens is yellow, with differing amounts of red, many examples exhibit shades that include light red, reddish-brown, and pink.

Clay: Buff-firing clay (Shepard 1971: 182).

Core Texture: Paste is uniformly fine, despite the size or proportion of temper (Smith 1971: 479). The texture of Awatovi Black-on-yellow varied along a continuum, with a gradual phasing out of temper in yellow ware production over time. Alternatively, increased use of clay sources that contain naturally-occurring sand may have been used more frequently over time and may have also resulted in finer paste texture over time (Lyons and Hays-Gilpin 2001: 151).

Fracture: Shattering

Surface Appearance: Pigment bleeding extends one to two millimeters outward from the paint edge and is a pale-reddish “blush” present on vessel surfaces. Pigment “blushing” may also be present in irregular areas of the surface (Smith 1971: 477). According to Shepard (pers. comm. with Smith), alkali in firing fuel may react with certain clays to produce this effect.

Surface Color: See core color description (above). Surface color does not differ from core color except in misfired specimens.

Thickness: No published information exists. Thickness is presumed to be similar to that of Jeddito Black-on-yellow, as discussed by Colton (1956, Ware 7B – Type 6).

Vessel Forms: Type includes bowls, ladles, jars and rarely, other shapes. Bowls and ladles are more common than jars. The usual bowl shape was an oblate hemisphere (the height to width ratio ranges from 1: 2.25 to 1:2.5). Bowls range from 18 to 25 cm diameter, with a rare specimens exhibiting larger diameters. Dippers are approximately half as large as bowls. Radius of curvature at vessel bases is relatively high, greatly decreasing along the vessel sides. The common jar shape of this type is “approximately globular, markedly oblate” and approximately one-half to two-thirds as tall as it is wide (Smith 1971: 480, 505; Hays 1991: 25). Another common jar shape has a flatter shoulder and a wide, short, short neck.

Rims: Rims generally incurved, sometimes very incurved. Bowl maximum diameter measurements, taken approximately 2-3 cm below the vessel lip, can be 3-4 cm less than the rim diameter in extremely incurved specimens. Direct, or near direct rims, are also present on vessels of this type. Vessel lips usually rounded, more than half are semi-circular or very slightly beveled in cross section. Some specimens show a marked upward bevel with a slight outward flare. Vessels are very rarely tapered (Smith 1971: 480-481).

Paint Type: Paint is an iron-manganese pigment (Shepard 1971: 182) and varies widely from dense black through a range of reddish and brownish hues. A pale reddish “blush” is present along the edges of painted areas. This coloration, referred to as “bleeding”, is strongest at the edge of the paint and blends outward one to two millimeters into the general surface color (Smith 1971: 477).

Decoration: Designs are clustered and geometric, with a relatively large amount of black paint, relative to the yellow background. Design fields are bordered by banding lines, often present just below the rim, in bowl forms, with a discontinuous segment called the "line break." There are four main layouts, including zonal, radial, meridinoal, and overall layouts. Bowl exteriors: Generally painted with bold, geometrical elements as continuous, angular frets, or of isolated figures. Designs rarely have framing lines but may contain subdivided zones (Smith 1971: 499). Jars: At Awatovi Pueblo, design layouts on jars include are strictly zonal, usually occurring on the vessel body, and framed by wide, circumferential bands that were sometimes broken. The decorated area of the zone is within the framing bands (Smith 1971: 507, 509). On smaller jars, decoration was simpler, consisting of continuous patterns built up of opposed rows of elongated solid triangles with interlocking attached scrolls.

Varieties: Smith (1971: 517) noted eight variants of Awatovi Black-on-yellow based on color, texture, paint and average thickness of walls for this transitional type, and the absence of a true “norm.” Smith advised that a type collection for Awatovi Black-on-yellow should be comprised of all the variants, which do not warrant sub-categories, but should be regarded as within the range of variation exhibited by Awatovi Black-on-yellow.

COMPARISON: Awatovi Black-on-yellow is distinguished from Jeddito Black-on-yellow and Sikyatki Polychrome based on paste and surface characteristics. Paste: Although transitional and hybrid specimens exist, as a type, Awatovi Black-on-yellow contains more diverse temper (sand and sand > sherd) in a more restricted range of sizes (<0.10 - .25 mm) and in much higher relative quantities relative to Jeddito Black-on-Yellow. Jeddito Black-on-yellow generally exhibits exclusively sand temper, in sizes ranging from < 0.10 to > 0.25 mm, and in much smaller relative quantities (Smith 1971: 479). Paste color is another variable showing variation between the Jeddito and Awatovi Black-on-yellow types. Awatovi Black-on-yellow paste color is more reddish-yellow, while Jeddito Black-on-yellow specimens may be nearly white. Surface characteristics: Paint color varies widely among Awatovi Black-on-yellow relative to Jeddito Black-on-yellow, although Smith (1971) notes variation in paint color from brown to black within Jeddito Black-on-yellow as well. For more information, see the Jeddito Black-on-yellow type description.

REMARKS: Awatovi Black-on-yellow designs are somewhat similar to those of Tusayan Black-on-white, differing in firing atmosphere and fuel (Smith 1971). Designs are very similar to Jeddito Black-on-orange, which has abundant white angular sherd temper in an orange paste.


Authored by: Jeanne Stevens Shofer

Authored by: 2005 NAU Ceramic Analysis class and Prof. Kelley Hays-Gilpin
Northern Arizona University - Anthropology Department

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