TYPE: Papago Plain

DATE: A.D. -1700 to Present? (Fontana et al., 1962;103,105,109)

KEY DIFFERENCES: Thin sand and/or mica tempered Papago plain can be difficult if not impossible to distinguish from sand and/or mica tempered prehistoric Hohokam plainware. Rim coils are diagnostic for Period 1 (A.D. -1700 to 1860). Later examples that are usually thicker and organic tempered (having a black clay body) are diagnostic for Period 2 (A.D. 1860 to 1930) Papago Plain.

SLIP OR SURFACE TREATMENT: Not slipped, usually well polished, some early examples may only be hand smoothed.

TEMPER: Period 1 (A.D. -1700 to 1860) temper can be sand (a light to dark gray carbon core may be present), sometimes highly micaceous, rarely organic. During Period 2  (A.D. 1860 to 1930), and Period 3 (A.D. 1930 to Present) temper is commonly organic and will look dark to light black throughout the paste. Mica and sand tempered vessels occur as well.

FORMS: Jars and bowls with rims that may be straight or everted. Unsmoothed rim coils on vessels are believed to date from A.D. -1700 to 1900.

THICKNESS: Thickness of the walls of vessels were generally thin  (about 1/8" to 3/16") in Period 1, thick (1/4" or more) in Period 2 (although many tourists pots made from 1880 and later were often thin), Period 3 vessels that were used by the natives were often thick while the tourist pots were usually thinner. Huge (around 14" in diameter or larger) plain "water coolers" or storage pots were thick in all time periods.


1Y Papago Plain Jar with unsmoothed "Rim Coil" (A.D. -1700 to 1860)

Approximate Dimensions: 9" by 7 1/2"

2N Papago Plain Bowl with "Rim Coil" and fire clouds like that of a hand.

(A.D. 1860 to 1900)

Approximate Dimensions: 10 1/2 " by 3 3/4"


Close up of paste, showing that organic material was used then it was fired out producing a black clay body or paste. This photo also shows that the "rim coil" was mostly smoothed out but not completely.

3Y Papago Plain "Chocolate Brown" Jar

(A.D. 1860 to 1920)

Approximate Dimensions: 10 3/4" by 8 3/4"


4Y Papago Plain Cauldron (A.D. -1700 to 1920)

Approximate Dimensions: 14 1/2" by 10 1/2"

5Y Papago Plain Olla with Mesquite Pitch Plug (A.D. 1860 to 1950)

Approximate Dimensions: 23" by 19"


6N Papago Plain Jar (A.D. 1860 to 1950)

Approximate Dimensions: 8 1/2" by 8 1/2"


7Y Papago Plain Pipe

Approximate Dimensions: 3 3/4" by 1 1/4"



8Y Papago Plain Pipe

Approximate Dimensions: 3 1/4" by 1 1/4"




9Y Papago Plain Stylized Bird Effigy

Approximate Dimensions: 6 5/8" by 5 1/2" by 4 3/4"



10N Papago Plain Olla

Approximate Dimensions: 15" by 13 1/2"



This page last revised: 08/10/2012

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