Kiatuthlanna Black-on-white

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

Kiatuthlanna Black-on-white is a relatively early type of Cibola White Ware with decorations painted in the Kana’a style, in which designs tend to consist of widely spaced thin lines.

Archaeological Culture: Ancestral Puebloan

Date Range: A.D. 850-950.

Construction: By coiling.

Firing: In a neutral to reducing atmosphere.

Core Color: White to light gray.

Temper: Fine sand, sometimes sherd and sand.

Surface Finish: Clear, white slipped, hard, polished.

Surface Color: Buff 1 to 3; occasionally to Yellowish Red 5.

Forms: Bowls, seed jars, canteens, pitchers, ladles; rarely, large jars and bird effigies.

Vessel Thickness: 3.9 to 6.4 mm; average 5.4 mm (bowls); 4.4 to 6.7 mm; average 5.4 mm (jars).


  • Paint: Black to dark brown mineral paint.
  • Pigments: Iron based.
  • Design: Fine line chevrons; small solid triangles often with a saw-tooth edge; and occasionally line elaborations, such as pendent dots and cross-ticking. Sets of parallel and parallel stepped lines often cross at the corners, and frequently have solid triangles set in the corners. Frets, checkerboards, volutes, thin line widely spaced vertical squiggle (wavy line) hatchure, and concentric squares or rectangles appear. Layouts are often fourfold, but may be twofold or threefold. Sectors contain solid elements that are often pendant from the rim and are bordered by parallel lines in a series. A solid line is always painted directly on the rim.

Comparisons: Finer lines than Red Mesa or White Mound, although designs overlap. The surface finish is better than on Red Mesa or White Mound. Designs may be White Mound style but if the surface is slipped or the temper is crushed sherd the type is Kiatuthlanna. Kiatuthlanna often has the same thin line design as Kana-a Black-on-white, and the very rare St. Joseph Black-on-white, but these have organic paint.

Compiled from the following sources:
Hays-Gilpin, Kelly and Eric van Hartseveldt.(1998) Prehistoric Ceramics of the Puerco Valley: The 1995 Chambers-Sanders Trust Land Ceramic Conference. Museum of Northern Arizona Ceramic Series, No.7. Flagstaff, Arizona.

Compiled by:
April Peters, Northern Arizona University Anthropology Laboratories.