Puerco Black-on-white

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

Puerco Black-on-white is a type of Cibola White Ware characterized by bold solids separated by thin parallel lines.  The jar pictured above is also interactive!

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: Crushed sherds with sparse to heavy sand.

Surface Finish: Smoothed, usually slipped, and often polished; slip can be thin or thick, and often streaky.

Surface Color: White to light gray.

Forms: Bowls, pitchers, ladles, effigies.


  • Paint: Matte black to brown to reddish brown.
  • Pigments: Mineral, occasionally mixed with some organics.
  • Design: Banded, vertically sectioned designs separated by parallel vertical lines running perpendicular to the rim; negative elements, with some hatching; squares, checkerboards, parallelograms, triangles, negative lightning, and negative bullseyes are common; ticked bands sometimes present; checkerboard, cross hatching, and dot filled squares are common; solid triangles, rectangles, scrolls, and appended dots occur alone or combined with other elements.

Comparisons: Red Mesa Black-on-white has small solid designs and no negative elements; Puerco Black-on-white is bolder, with more solids and negative elements, and generally lacks dots and ticks around the solids. Escavada Black-on-white has thicker solid lines, barbed solid lines and bold solid designs that are angular to one another; Puerco Black-on-white design elements tend to be parallel or at right angles to one another.

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

Zedeño, María Nieves. (1994) Sourcing Prehistoric Ceramics at Chodistaas Pueblo, Arizona: The Circulation of People and Pots in the Grasshopper Region. Anthropological Papers No. 58, University of Arizona Press, Tucson.

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