The “Ancient Native American Pottery Replication Workshop: Decorated Wares of the 1300s” taught at Old Pueblo Archaeology Center by ceramist Andy Ward was a terrific learning experience for the students and the instructor. This workshop focused on replicating pottery types produced between AD 1270 and 1450 by Puebloan immigrants to southern Arizona. Some of this region’s most elaborately decorated and widely traded pottery types including those known as Tucson Polychrome, Gila Polychrome, and Tonto Polychrome were introduced by Ancestral Pueblo migrants who came here from northern Arizona during that period.
The workshop participants learned about the history of these pottery types and experienced the entire process of reproducing them including processing raw materials, forming and decorating their vessels, and culminating with an authentic outdoor pottery firing. This exciting and fast paced workshop took place over the course of one weekend during which the pots were created completely then left to dry, followed by a later Saturday morning in which all the pottery produced during the class was fired. Each participant ended up with at least one beautiful, authentic-looking, finished reproduction of a prehistoric pot.
Instructor Andy Ward is a diligent student of southwestern prehistory and archaeology who has worked with archaeologists to locate resources in field surveys and in excavations. He began working to reproduce prehistoric pottery while still in high school and has successfully recreated many of the prehistoric pottery types of southern Arizona.
For photographs and comments on the workshop’s creative process visit student Lyn Ballam’s blog: