Tusayan Black-on-white

Tusayan Black-on-white bowl. Click the image to open the Tusayan Black-on-white gallery.

Tusayan Black-on-white is a Tusayan White Ware type common in the Tsegi area of northern Arizona.

Archaeological Culture: Ancestral Puebloan, Kayenta

Date Range: Kayenta Heartland: A.D. 1230-1320 (Christenson 1994), Flagstaff Region: A.D. 1225-1290 (per Christian Downum, Northern Arizona University).

Construction: By coiling.

Firing: In a reducing atmosphere.

Core Color: Dark gray to light gray.

Carbon Streak: Fairly common.

Temper: Not very abundant fine quartz sand, frequently almost invisible.

Surface Finish: Interior bowl surfaces and exterior jar surfaces are smoothed not slipped, slightly polished, scraping marks noticeable on undecorated surfaces.

Surface Color: Pearl gray to light bluish gray.

Forms: Jars, seed jars, colanders, jugs, canteens, dippers, and bowls.

Vessel Thickness: 2.5 to 5.6 mm (bowls).


  • Paint: Usually organic black, dense and somewhat gritty.
  • Pigments: Carbon.
  • Design: Series of small ranking triangles set along straight lines, sawtooth edge effect, and opposed by like series running in opposite direction, commonly introduced between the two is a line saw-toothed on both sides, opposed sets of isosceles triangles with their points touching, leaving diamond shaped interspaces which are occupied by a single dot, interlocking scrolls are common, as well as large solid areas with serrated edges, coarse cross-hatching sometimes occurs as background for series of triangles, painted areas are greater than unpainted areas.

Comparisons: Flagstaff Black-on-white has white areas in excess of painted areas. Kayenta Black-on-white has mosquito bar design.

Other Names: Pottery from Tusayan, Tusayan Pottery, Black-and-white ware, Proto- Kayenta Black-on-white, 3rd Tusayan.

Compiled from the following sources:
Christenson, Andrew (1994) A Test of Mean Ceramic Dating Using Well-Dated Kayenta-Anasazi Sites. Kiva 59(3):297-317.

Colton, Harold S., and Lyndon L. Hargrave. (1937) Handbook of Northern Arizona Pottery Wares. Museum of Northern Arizona Bulletin 11, Flagstaff, Arizona.

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