Chaco Black-on-white

Chaco Black-on-white bowl from the Museum of Northern Arizona collections. Click the image to open the Chaco Black-on-white gallery.

Chaco Black-on-white is a type of Cibola White Ware produced in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico.

Archaeological Culture: Ancestral Puebloan

Date Range: ca. A.D. 1050-1225.

Construction: By coiling.

Firing: In a neutral to reducing atmosphere.

Core Color: White to light gray.

Carbon Streak: Occasional.

Temper: Sherd and sand.

Surface Finish: Often thinly slipped with streaks; slip is often chalky; rarely unslipped; polished and not polished.

Surface Color: White to light gray.

Forms: Bowls, jars, pitchers, mugs, effigies.


  • Paint: Matte black to brown to reddish brown.
  • Pigments: Mineral, occasionally mixed with some organics.
  • Design: Parallel bands with diagonal and occasional horizontal hatching; hatch-filled triangles; solids present only occasionally and as minor elements or filler in hatched designs; framing lines twice as thick at hatching lines.

Comparisons: Distinguished from Gallup Black-on-white by finer hatching, wider framing lines, and black-painted rims.

Compiled from the following sources:
Kintigh, Keith, Greg Schachner, and Josh Watts. (2003) El Morro Valley Prehistory Project Ceramic Guide, Arizona State University, Tempe.

Plog, Stephen. (2003) Exploring the Ubiquitous through the Usual: Color Symbolism in Pueblo Black-on-white Pottery. American Antiquity 68(4):665-695.

Compiled by:
Meghann M. Vance, Northern Arizona University Anthropology Laboratories.