Hopi Pottery and Prehistoric Salt Procurement in Southern Utah Canyon Country

Sharyl Kinnear-Ferris, Winston Hurst, Kelley A Hays-Gilpin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Hopi pottery sherds dating to the PIV period have been documented at sites throughout southeastern Utah, but an unusual cache of Hopi Pueblo IV whole vessels, gourds, shredded bark, and corn cobs, found in an alcove in a remote location in Canyonlands National Park, raises new questions about long-distance interactions in the protohistoric period. The pottery appears to date sometime between AD 1450 and 1629, and to come from the Hopi Mesas. Carbon dating of samples from the gourds and bark returned dates that conformed well with the relative dates of the pottery. One of the pots contained salt; inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry analysis of a salt sample from the pot was compared to other natural and cultural salt samples from the region. The source of the cache salt is yet to be determined. Possible explanations are explored, including (1) persistent occupation of the region by Pueblo populations into the Pueblo IV period, (2) intermittent use of the area by PIV people for the purposes of hunting, gathering, visiting shrines, and/or salt gathering, and (3) interaction and trade between Numic speakers and the Hopi during the PIV period, with Numic people leaving behind Hopi pottery sherds and vessels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)250-280
Number of pages31
JournalKIVA
Volume80
Issue number3-4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

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Keywords

  • Hopi Pottery
  • Prehistoric salt procurement
  • Southeastern Utah

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Archaeology
  • History
  • Archaeology

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