Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Northwest Coast Ceramic Style and Form

  Crabtree, Robert H. Warren, Claude N.
1977 A Chumash Pottery Jar. The Journal of California Anthropology 4(1) 118-122.

    This article discusses a pottery jar associated with a burial in a proto-historic Chumash cemetery and places it within a regional and historical context. The site is located near Goleta California. This area has been identified with a historically known Chumash village called Saspilil. Among other objects found at this site, a pottery jar containing 32 glass trade beads, a red shell disc bead and an Olivella half-shell bead. The vessel is globular with a restricted plain-rimmed mouth. It closely resembles the south western "seed" jar or the large steatite ollas of the Santa Barbara coastal area. The jar appears to be made by coiling and modeling flat ribbons or slabs of moist clay. Pottery, while not common, does occur in several sites in this coastal area; however, descriptions are not always adequate or standardized, and comparisons are somewhat subjective. The rarity of occurrence coupled with inadequate analysis does not lead to delineation of any local types. The jar does not resemble any Paiute pottery we have examined from southern Nevada, and is even less like pottery of the Lower Colorado or San Diego county area. The association with glass trade beads might suggest that the jar was brought in by European explorers. However, the shape of this vessel is very similar to that of a southwestern seed jar, or a local steatite olla. Due to the fact that the olla was an innovative medium that was readily available, it seems more likely that it was locally made. It is clear that these coastal peoples possessed the knowledge to produce pottery, but it did not replace vessels made by other materials. The fact that this particular pot was associated with a burial suggests that it was something more than just an item used for cooking and storage; it had social value as well.

Wainwright, I N M. Moffatt, E A. Sirois, P J.
2009 Occurrences of Green Earth Pigment on Northwest Coast First Nations Painted Objects. Archaeometry 51(3) 440-456

    This document discusses the analysis of green and blue-green pigments on a series of well documented objects from the Northwest Coast. These objects include dishes, bowls, boxes, and masks. Contrary to published ethnographic accounts, pigments made of copper compounds do not appear to have been widely used in the region. Studies done by few researchers have identified the use of green earth by indigenous people in North America. Danziger and Hanson (1979) found green earth on a Tlingit totem pole. Scott et al. (2002) identified green earth at a Chumash rock painting site. R. J. Gettens noted occurrences of green earth on objects from the Boundary Mound site, on painted pottery from Casas Grandes in Mexico, and on an American Indian peace pipe. The primary source of the green earth pigment are the micas celadonite and glauconite. The color of celadonite has been described as earthy, dull, grey–green or bluish-green. In total, green paint from 82 objects and six pigment samples or mineral specimens from the Northwest Coast were analyzed. Green earth was the most frequently identified green pigment, found in approximately 40% of the samples. Green earth was found mainly on Haida, Tlingit and Tsimshian objects, and was also found on a few Heiltsuk and Kwakwaka’wakw objects.

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