Point of Pines Pottery Research

Dr. Patrick D. Lyons analyzes pottery from Point of Pines Pueblo (San Carlos Apache Reservation, southeast Arizona).

Text by Patrick D. Lyons, Director. August 2013

There is much to be gained in revisiting existing museum collections to ask old questions in new ways, and to address new questions with new techniques.

Existing museum collections are critically important resources that present exciting opportunities for revealing new knowledge about the archaeological record and infinite possibilities for teaching. Among ASM's most important collections is the large and exquisitely documented assemblage recovered during the 1940s and 1950s, as a result of the archaeological field school at Point of Pines Pueblo, on the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation. It was there that Emil Haury, then ASM director, encountered what is now thought of as the best-documented case of prehistoric migration in the U.S. Southwest. Maverick Mountain Series pottery, made locally by immigrants from the Kayenta region of far northeastern Arizona and southeastern Utah, was first described at Point of Pines and helped to tell this migration story. Unfortunately, the collections resulting from these important excavations were never fully analyzed nor published.

For the past few years, ASM Director Dr. Patrick Lyons, with the help of a small team of graduate students and community volunteers, has been systematically re-examining the pottery from this site (more than 800 whole vessels and hundreds of boxes of sherds). His goals are to:

  • address many interesting questions related to the immigrants at Point of Pines (e.g., How many immigrants arrived at the site during the late 1200s?);
  • improve the type descriptions for the Maverick Mountain Series types which, though defined at Point of Pines, have only been described in print based on specimens from the Safford Basin, the San Pedro Valley, and the Tucson Basin;
  • refine the chronology of Point of Pines Pueblo and nearby late sites based on the whole vessel assemblage, bulk sherd collections, type collections, and survey collections;
  • learn more about the distribution and dating of Roosevelt Red Ware ("Salado polychrome pottery"), a ceramic tradition created and spread by northern immigrants; and
  • be able to compare Point of Pines Pueblo with the other four large, late pueblos in the Arizona mountains (Kinishba, Tundastusa, Grasshopper, and Q Ranch). 


Patrick D. Lyons, Ph.D., RPA
Director and Associate Professor of Anthropology
Arizona State Museum / University of Arizona
P.O. Box 210026
Tucson, AZ  85721-0026
See Dr. Lyons's Profile