Object 27
JIAAW, Bishop Collection

Object 27 is a kothon (also called an exaleiptron or plemochoe ) from the late 5th or early 4th century BCE. This type of vessel was used to hold cosmetics, oils, or perfumes, either for personal use or in rituals, and was typically made of clay, though a few examples carved out of marble have been found. While the shallow, lidless shape would normally make it hard not to spill the contents of the vessel when moving it, the kothon is designed with an inward curving rim which prevents the liquids inside from sloshing out. 

-Jess Porter, JIAAW Operations and Events Coordinator

See other examples of Kothona:

kothon | British Museum

Description Pottery kothon (also known as an exaleiptron). Painted with black bands and hatches. Curator’s comments pp. 17-22, Pl. V,2 Picard, C., Gardner, E.A., Pryce, F. N., Cooksey, W., Woodward, A. M., Casson, S., Welch, F.B., Tod, M.N. (1918/1919). ‘Macedonia’.

Terracotta kothon (perfume vase) | Greek, Corinthian | Late Corinthian | The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Met Collection API is where all makers, creators, researchers, and dreamers can now connect to the most up-to-date data and images for more than 470,000 artworks in The Met collection. As part of The Met’s Open Access program, the data is available for unrestricted commercial and noncommercial use without permission or fee.


© Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford (image, internal record shot)

Faience Necklace

Object 40
JIAAW, Bishop Collection

Faience first appeared about 6000 years ago in the Near East and its production techniques were refined and widely used in Egypt. While beads were some of the earliest faience objects produced in Egypt, the material was also used extensively on amulets, figurines, and scarabs and inlayed into furniture and walls.

Faience is made of quartz or sand (silica) mixed with alkaline salts, lime, and metallic colorants. While faience comes in many colors, blue/green is the most common and is made using copper. This bright blue color may have been used as a substitute for turquoise or lapis lazuli and, in Egypt, the color was associated with fertility, life, and the sun.

Faience objects were generally made using one of three methods. In the efflorescence method, the faience ingredients were mixed into a paste and then shaped or pressed into a mold to make small objects. Beads were often made using this method, pressing the paste into tubes which were then cut into pieces before firing. In the direct application method, a faience core was glazed with a slurry of ingredients, either by brushing, dipping, or pouring it over the core. The cementation method also used a faience core, which was buried in a glazing powder that melted and reacted with the core to form a glaze during firing. Regardless of the method of shaping and glazing used, these pieces were fired in a kiln to produce the brilliant finish.

-Jess Porter, JIAAW Operations and Events Coordinator

Read more about faience and see other examples:

Egyptian Faience: Technology and Production | Essay | The Metropolitan Museum of Art | Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History

In ancient Egypt, objects created with faience were considered magical, filled with the undying shimmer of the sun, and imbued with the powers of rebirth. For Egyptians, the sculptures, vessels, jewelry, and ritual objects made of faience glimmered with the brilliance of eternity.

Ancient Technology: Faience Beads in the Garstang Museum

A fairly common object to see in any museum collection or to find during a dig are beads, sometimes in vast quantities. The John Lipscombe Collection, formerly belonging to John Garstang’s daughter, Meroe, and recently donated to the Garstang Museum, is no exception, containing large amounts of faience beads from various Egyptian sites (e.g.

Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum

Jennifer Torres Jennifer Torres is the Collections Technician of the Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum. Her primary duties include the rehousing and photography of the museum’s collection. She completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Florida, where she received her B.A. in Anthropology and Classical Studies in 2013.

Brown Bag Talks for Spring 2021

Brown Bag talks are held Thursdays from 12:00-12:50pm via Zoom.
Talks are free and open to the public. Links and information about attending each talk will be provided below.

February 18, 2021:
Anna Soifer (Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology, Brown University)
The Lived Productive Landscapes of Ancient Etruria

February 25, 2021:
Panos Tzovaras (University of Southampton)
The Boatbuilding Tradition of the LN-EBA Aegean: Typological Classification, Digital Reconstruction and Seakeeping Assessment of the Period’s Watercraft

March 4, 2021:
Elizabeth Clay (University of Pennsylvania and Virginia and Jean R. Perrette Fellow, John Carter Brown Library, Brown University)
A Marginal Colony?: Recovering the Nineteenth-Century Clove Industry in French Guiana

March 11, 2021:
Amy Russell (Classics, Brown University)
Political Performance and Political Spectatorship in the Forum Romanum

March 18, 2021:
Kathleen Forste (Boston University)
Cultivating the Hills and the Sands: An Archaeobotanical Investigation of Early Islamic Agriculture in the Southern Levant

March 25, 2021:
Amélie Allard (Rhode Island College)
Communities on the Move: Fur Traders and the Making of Place

April 1, 2021:
Sandra Blakely (Emory University)
GIS, Games and Gephi: Modeling Maritime Mobility as a Complex Adaptive System in the Hellenistic Mediterranean

Early Islamic spindle whorls

Object M269
JIAAW, Minassian Collection

Spindle whorls are one of the most common finds in any excavation site or any historical site.  They are associated with spinning yarn, a process that took place after collecting the material and before setting up the loom. Spinning needs a lot of skill and a lot of time, therefore, in many traditional societies, we see photos of little girls spinning and women spinning while doing other jobs at the same time. Spinning and weaving are mostly considered a women’s job, but this is not true for all ancient or traditional societies.

There are many different spinning techniques around the world, but most of them use a spindle. The spindle is used for controlling the twist of the yarn and consists of the spindle shaft, which could be made by a piece of wood or bone, and the spindle whorl. The spindle whorl is important because it sustains the axis of the shaft while spinning. Spindle whorls can tell us a lot about the spinning technique and the type of material that was used.

The JIAAW collection hosts these small objects that attest to spinning in the Early Islamic period (c. 640-900 AD). Probably coming from Iran, these spindle whorls are made of bone and bear incised and painted decoration with motifs that are quite common in early Islam symbolic language.

But, where they were used? These specimens were probably used for the spinning of cotton, which was one of the fibers which people used for the production of textiles during Early Islam. Their use was widespread, following the spread of Islam and the trading networks, from Iran to Spain, and as far south as the Arabian Peninsula and Sudan in Africa. Even though there were commonalities, Early Islamic textiles are very different, as they were produced in different places with distinct pre-existing textile traditions.

The most famous Early Islamic textiles are the tiraz. Tiraz were inscribed textiles; they bore names that were embroidered onto them. They were considered the most elaborate textiles and were given as robes to ambassadors as a symbol of their loyalty to the caliphate, or served as a signifier of wealth and status.

We cannot know whether these specimens were used for the production of simple cotton cloth or an elaborate tiraz. Whatever the case they were part of a labor-intensive and skillful process.

-Gerasimoula Ioanna Nikolovieni, Graduate Student, JIAAW

See other examples of spindle whorls and lean more about tiraz textiles:

Tiraz: Inscribed Textiles from the Early Islamic Period | Essay | The Metropolitan Museum of Art | Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History

Inscribed textiles were highly valued in the early Islamic period and were produced until the fourteenth century in both caliphal and state-run public factories. They were given as robes of honor to courtiers and ambassadors in the khil’a ceremony, where they served as a symbol of individuals’ loyalty to the caliphate.

Spindle Whorl | The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Spindle whorls aided in the making of thread by maintaining the momentum of the spindle. This semi-spherical spindle whorl made from pink-tinted bone was excavated at Nishapur. It is incised with two bands of dot-in-circles. Hundreds of spindle whorls were excavated at Nishapur, providing further evidence that the city possessed a thriving textile industry.

spindle-whorl | British Museum

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Early Islamic Period Artifacts from the Shelby White and Leon Levy Center for National Treasures

Spindle Whorl

The information about this object, including provenance information, is based on historic information and may not be currently accurate or complete. Research on objects is an ongoing process, but the information about this object may not reflect the most current information available to CMA.

Spindle whorl

Description Spindle whorl with scalloped edge. Two black lines on one side. Clay: Pale buff, medium hard, polished. Unglazed. Provenance From Tall-i-Bakun, near Persepolis. 1937: excavated by the University of Chicago-Museum of Fine Arts Persepolis Expedition. Assigned to the MFA in the division of finds. (Accession Date: December 13, 1945)

A Neolithic beehive?

Objects 809, 810, 813
JIAAW, Couch Collection

Beekeeping is attested by traces of beeswax on ceramic pots, as early as the Middle Neolithic (ca. 5800-4500BC) period in Greece. Whether this was the product of wild or domesticated bees remains uncertain. Also uncertain is the shape of the beehives, as no complete specimen has been found.

Archaeologists argue that pots bearing scoring on the inside belong to beehives of the horizontal ceramic type. Horizontal beehives are laid against a steady element, such as a wall or a tree, and can be stacked. Pictorial evidence from Ancient Egypt shows this way of positioning the beehives. The bees start working from the top of the interior and create combs that hang down within the hive. Little wooden bars can be used to help the bees form vertical combs and facilitate harvesting. Are these little wooden bars responsible for the incisions in the clay? Even though this seems plausible, some researchers doubt that these interior incisions are used exclusively for beehives, as they can also see their usefulness in dairy or other food processing. 

The three sherds from the JIAAW collection are a characteristic specimen of what an archaeologist would think is part of a beehive. Their exact context is not known, but they bear a lot of similarities with examples from the Neolithic Peloponnese, Greece (ca. 6500-3200 BC). 

-Gerasimoula Ioanna Nikolovieni, Graduate Student, JIAAW

Learn more about ancient beekeeping:

Prehistoric farmers were first beekeepers

By Helen Briggs BBC News Humans have been exploiting honeybees for almost 9,000 years, according to archaeological evidence. Traces of beeswax found on ancient pottery from Europe, the Near East and North Africa suggest the first farmers kept bees. The research, published in Nature, shows our links with the honeybee date back to the dawn of agriculture.

The Sacred Bee: Ancient Egypt
November 6, 2017
by Planet Bee Foundation

Ancient Beehives Yield 3,000-Year-Old Bees

Honeybee remains found in a 3,000-year-old apiary have given archaeologists a one-of-a-kind window into the beekeeping practices of the ancient world. “Beekeeping is known only from a few Egyptian sources, from a few tombs and paintings. No actual hives have been found,” said Hebrew University of Jerusalem archaeologist Amihai Mazar.

Prehistoric Beekeeping in Central Europe – a Themed Guided Tour at Zeiteninsel, Germany

Summary: Over the past few years, beekeeping has been a media focal point. Nevertheless There is a paucity of knowledge surrounding the prehistory of beekeeping outside of the information from the east and south Mediterranean regions… The content is published under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 4.0 License.

Sherd from a Mycenaean Kylix

Object 872
JIAAW, Couch Collection

The kylix is a drinking vessel, favored by the Mycenaeans. Its main typological characteristics are its round base and the tall cylindrical stem ending to a bowled cup with two handles. It was not only favored by Mycenaeans but also from archaeologists, as its typological evolution helps define the chronological subperiods of Late Helladic III (ca. 1420/ 10-1075/50 BC). Even more conveniently, kylixes are to be found in all types of contexts; domestic, ritual, and funerary.  Usually, kylikes bear painted decoration of parallel bands, from the base up to the stem, until the beginning of the bowled cup or the handles. Normally, the bowled cup carries a decoration zone with a variety of motifs, such as running spiral, Argonauts, scale pattern, whorl-shell, flower, or octopus. Nevertheless, unpainted, plain kylikes also occur. Lastly, the kylix is extremely haptic; the tall stem, the wide bowled cup, and the two handles suggest many different ways of holding the vessel.  

The sherd of the JIAAW collection is a typical base, decorated with reddish concentric circles. The base is rather flat with curved edges, thus placing the sherd in Late Helladic IIIA2 or IIIB1 (ca. 1390/70 –1200/1190 BC).

Current research has associated the kylix with feasting. Feasting is being researched not as a biological act, as the mere consumption of food and drink, but as a constructed and contextual social act, which constructs social identities, shared experiences of consumption, and shared memory. Feasts are differentiated from household consumption as they have to be associated with a specific location, a specific use of foods and drinks, and associated paraphernalia. Meat from animal bones, conical cups, and kylikes, probably for serving and drinking wine, consists of a usual assemblage of Mycenaean feasting. Evidence like this has been excavated in many sites, such as Asine, Phylakopi, Tiryns, and Iklaina. In Pylos, miniature kylikes have been found alongside other related artifacts. Moreover, feasting and its logistics are probably attested in Linear B tablets from Thebes, Pylos, and Knossos.

Who is holding the feast? If feasts are organized by the central administration, this should involve complicated logistics, as it would be necessary to gather resources and mobilize labor, thus having an impact on the organization of society. However, feasts could be community celebrations and organized by the community. And even though logistics would be the same, the social impact would be rather different.   

Whatever the context, feasting is a social act with a powerful agency, in which material culture, such as the kylix, had a very important role to play.

-Gerasimoula Ioanna Nikolovieni, Graduate Student, JIAAW

Terracotta kylix (drinking cup) | Mycenaean | Late Helladic III | The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Timed tickets are required for About Time: Fashion and Duration and Making The Met, 1870-2020 . Tickets are limited.

Mycenaean Civilization | Essay | The Metropolitan Museum of Art | Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History

Mycenaean is the term applied to the art and culture of Greece from ca. 1600 to 1100 B.C. The name derives from the site of Mycenae in the Peloponnesos, where once stood a great Mycenaean fortified palace. Mycenae is celebrated by Homer as the seat of King Agamemnon, who led the Greeks in the Trojan War.

Stemmed Drinking Cup (Kylix) | RISD Museum

The images on this website can enable discovery and collaboration and support new scholarship, and we encourage their use. This object is in the public domain (CC0 1.0). This object is Stemmed Drinking Cup (Kylix) with the accession number of 31.001. To request a higher resolution file, please submit an online request.


Kylix | Museum of Cycladic Art

The Museum of Cycladic Art is dedicated to the study and promotion of ancient cultures of the Aegean and Cyprus, with special emphasis on Cycladic Art of the 3rd millennium BC

Mycenaean Psi Type Figurine

Object: 14
JIAAW Collection

Figurines are one of the most celebrated artifacts in museums and digital collections. The human eye is attracted to figurines, whether because we think we are viewing a small version of ourselves or because we are drawn to the tactility of a small object.  

Mycenaean figurines are also common in museum displays and collections, representing the Mycenaean civilization. They were produced in a specific timeline, ca. 1420-1100BC (Late Helladic III). They are categorized into three main types, based on the gestures of their arms and were named by their resemblance to the letters of the Greek alphabet: tau (T), phi (Φ), and psi (Ψ). The tau figurines fold their arms into their chest, the phi figurines clasp their hands in their stomach, and the psi figurines raise their hands. There are many variations within these types, as well as some examples that cannot be included in these categories, such as the so-called kourotrophos, depicting a female holding a child in her arms, and group figurines, such as enthroned females, chariot groups, or horse and rider. Researchers agree that the figurines represent female bodies.

Object 14 is a Mycenaean psi figurine, probably dated in ca. 1330/15-1200/1190 BC (Late Helladic IIIB). It is freestanding and made of clay. The base is missing, but the lower body is tubular, ending on a high-waist, where the flat upper body begins. There is an indication of breasts. The face is pinched and dresses with an elaborate headdress (polos in Greek). The features and the dress are drawn with red paint.  

But, who was she? There have been many suggestions on the use of Mycenaean figurines, mainly affected by their associated archaeological context. One of the most long-lasting approaches considers them as a part of the religious sphere. Are they representations of goddesses? Some researchers believed that they represent the goddesses of the popular cult, and they function as votives or offerings. Another approach suggested their use as children’s toys, as many of them have been found in children’s tombs. However, figurines are also found in domestic spaces and palatial contexts, therefore, implying that their use was not restricted to certain social groups. Whatever the interpretation, researchers have noticed the association of the figurines with beads and a drinking vessel, the kylix. Recent studies try to move beyond function and focus on production, context, and the use-life of each artifact. They acknowledge that throughout the life of a figurine, its use could have multiple meanings, according to the context within which it was used. Therefore, figurines had a complicated life; this is even more obvious from their disposal. They were broken and discarded, like any other object that had fulfilled its purpose.

Nevertheless, figurines are our window to human representation. Even though we acknowledge that these are symbolic representations and products of miniaturization, they remain a depiction of female personhood and identity. Their posture, gesture, and dress accentuate the female performativity which had a specific meaning to the Mycenaean viewer. Her arms are raised upright; is she surrendering, praying, or dancing?

Can her clothes inform us of what she is doing? The red paint describes her clothing and at the same time accentuates her body movement. The body, the dress, and her gesture are parts of a cohesive whole. Her flat-topped headdress is decorated with a double festoon. At the back of her neck, three knobs represent a single plait of hair. The rippling, given by the wavy lines, gives the impression of a loose-fitting blouse, which permits her to move easily. A kind of belt fits the blouse and a long skirt into her body. She does not wear any jewelry, but her elaborate headdress suggests that she is dressed up for an occasion.  

Gerasimoula Ioanna Nikolovieni, Graduate Student, JIAAW

Read more about the Mycenaean civilization and see other examples of Mycenaean figurines:

Mycenaean Civilization | Essay | The Metropolitan Museum of Art | Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History

Mycenaean is the term applied to the art and culture of Greece from ca. 1600 to 1100 B.C. The name derives from the site of Mycenae in the Peloponnesos, where once stood a great Mycenaean fortified palace. Mycenae is celebrated by Homer as the seat of King Agamemnon, who led the Greeks in the Trojan War.


3 Terracotta female figures | Helladic, Mycenaean | Late Helladic IIIA | The Met

Alexander, Christine. 1939. Early Greek Art: A Picture Book. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Alexander, Christine. 1945. “Early Statuettes from Greece.” Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 3(10): p. 241. Richter, Gisela M. A. 1953. Handbook of the Greek Collection. p. 15, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

Mycenaean Triad | Louvre Museum | Paris

These figurines, called “phi figurines” for their resemblance to the Greek letter, belong to a series frequently encountered in the Mycenaean art of the fourteenth and thirteenth centuries BC. This group is however distinctive in its rare association of two female figures with a smaller one above.

Small Faceted Glass Bottle

Object: D24
JIAAW, Day Collection

Object D24, a small glass bottle, likely Islamic, is an example of glassware created using cold working techniques (techniques that don’t require heat – like grinding, carving, engraving, and polishing). Glassblowers and glasscutters worked together to create the facets, or flat surfaces, on pieces like this. First, a glassblower would create a hollow, thick-walled blank (plain object), adding de-coloring agents to transform the glass’s natural light green color to clear. After this, a glasscutter would create the facets on a lathe or by using handheld tools. Facet cutting could be used to alter the shape of glassware, as in the case of object D24, or could be conducted in a more decorative manner, producing delicate lines and curves to create an intricate design on the surface of the vessel. The facet cuts on D24 are clear, evident in the piece’s well-defined octagonal body and seven-sided neck.

-Jinette Jimenez ‘21, JIAAW Records and Collections Assistant

Corning Museum of Glass

The prophet Muhammad proclaimed the new religion of Islam in 622. Following his death 10 years later, Arab armies conquered much of what is now Egypt, the Near East, and Iran. Here the Muslims found flourishing glass industries, which continued to produce large quantities of objects for daily use.

bottle | British Museum

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Cut and Engraved Glass from Islamic Lands | Essay | The Metropolitan Museum of Art | Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History

Cold-cut glass became the most prominent artistic form of decoration in the early Islamic period, especially in the ninth and tenth centuries. While this lapidary technique is as old as glassmaking itself, dating well before glassblowing was invented, Roman and Sasanian cut glass (from eastern Mediterranean and Iranian areas, respectively) provided immediate models.

beaker | British Museum

Description Glass beaker; semi-transparent light greyish green; almost cylindrical, tapering to a lightly rounded, possibly almost flat, base; cut facets in three registers; possibly showing a fire altar beneath two rows of arcading. Curator’s comments This has been previously described as a vase, phial, lamp or beaker.

Bowl with wheel-cut facets | Sasanian | Sasanian | The Met

Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1959. “Additions to the Collections: Near Eastern Art.” The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 18 (2), Eighty-Ninth Annual Report of the Trustees for the Fiscal Year 1958-1959 (Oct., 1959), p. 62. Corning Museum of Glass. 1960. “Recent Important Acquisitions made by public and private collections.”

Cup (Getty Museum)

Cup; Unknown; Eastern Mediterranean; 3rd-4th century A.D.; Glass; 8.1 × 11.2 cm (3 3/16 × 4 7/16 in.); 2004.38; The J. Paul Getty Museum, Villa Collection, Malibu, California; Rights Statement: No Copyright – United States

Painted Tanagra Figurine

Object: JI1716ab
JIAAW Collection

In celebration of National Color Day (October 22nd), we’re highlighting object JI1716ab. This object is an example of a Tanagra type figurine, named after the cemeteries in the Tanagra region of Greece in which figures like these were discovered in the 19th century. The object is a sitting woman draped in intricately folded garments, supported by a rectangular base.  

The colors of this figurine point to the production of Tanagra types, which were usually constructed out of terracotta, a dark red clay and, after firing, were coated in a white slip. The head in particular alludes to the coloring processes that took place after this white slip was applied, featuring slight hints of brown, white, blue, and red pigment around the woman’s hair, wreath crown, and face. 

The remnants of pigment found on this figurine brings up a wider conversation that is being had about the original colors of ancient statues. As Margaret Talbot writes in an article for the New Yorker, while the marble statues of ancient Greece and Rome were commonly thought to be purely white in color, archaeologists studying traces of pigmentation and evidence of tool marks on the surface of these statues have found that the ancient world was much more vibrant and colorful than we once believed it to be. 

Looking closely at the paint remnants visible on statues and examining them under infrared or ultraviolet light reveals that not only did ancient sculptors use pigment, but they also created elaborate and highly detailed designs using an array of colors. Recently, artists and archaeologists have worked together to recreate these works, this time focusing on the polychromy, or coloring, of the statues. 

Overall, this Tanagra figurine represents a central idea in archaeology: that we cannot fathom what we don’t know. The more technology and archaeological methods develop, the more we can question and reflect on the commonly held takeaways from previous archaeological work. In this way, object JI1716ab reminds us to be open to new interpretations, especially when they concern material culture that, like Greek and Roman statues, exists in the public consciousness. 

-Jinette Jimenez ‘21, JIAAW Records and Collections Assistant

Read more about current explorations of how color was used in the ancient world, including Margaret Talbot’s New Yorker article:

The Myth of Whiteness in Classical Sculpture

Greek and Roman statues were often painted, but assumptions about race and aesthetics have suppressed this truth. Now scholars are making a color correction. Mark Abbe was ambushed by color in 2000, while working on an archeological dig in the ancient Greek city of Aphrodisias, in present-day Turkey.

Gods in Color – Golden Edition

For many years the Liebieghaus has dedicated itself to unraveling the mystery of the original polychromy of ancient sculptures. Indeed, the museum has taken the lead in this area of research. Vinzenz Brinkmann’s reconstructions are made in collaboration with the archaeologist Ulrike Koch-Brinkmann and give current viewers a vibrant picture of the former polychromy of the sculptures.

‘Digging’ for color: The search for Egyptian Blue in ancient reliefs

A team of Yale researchers is working in the Yale University Art Gallery to map one of the long lost pigments – Egyptian Blue – on two reliefs from ancient Assyria that are located in the gallery. The team – Jens Stenger, conservation scientist at the Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage; Carol Snow, deputy chief conservator and the Alan J.

Sherds from Bandelier National Monument

Objects: 1526, 1527, 1528
JIAAW, Old Department Collection

Having just celebrated Indigenous People’s Day (Oct 12), we wanted to take a look at objects 1526, 1527, and 1528 – sherds that bring up important discussions about Native American history, representation, survival, and continuance. While most objects in the JIAAW collection are Mediterranean in origin, these sherds were excavated from Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico, a site that has significant ties to the Ancestral Pueblo people. Although it is named after a 19th-century anthropologist, Bandelier National Monument focuses much of its educational and promotional activities on sharing the history and lifeways of the Ancestral Pueblo people. Its website perpetuates the common narrative that the Ancestral Pueblo people suddenly disappeared in the late 13th century AD and that Bandelier is a place where one can step back into the past and explore ancient ruins. This particular telling of history situates the Ancestral Pueblo people completely in the past, despite the survival and existence of numerous Pueblo tribes today. A New York Times article offers an alternative view that explains that the Ancestral Puebloans did not vanish without a trace but, rather, their empire shrank and split off into the tribes that we see today, possibly as a result of deforestation, soil erosion, conflict with other tribes, drought, or a combination of these factors. 

Today, there are 19 federally recognized Pueblo tribes in New Mexico. The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, an organization that was established to celebrate Pueblo heritage through archives, exhibits, programs, and writing, puts Pueblo continuance at the center of their work. The mission of the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, which is “To preserve and perpetuate Pueblo culture, and to advance understanding by presenting with dignity and respect the accomplishments and evolving history of the Pueblo people of New Mexico,” directly responds to the narrative that places like Bandelier National Monument construct about indigenous peoples. It is important to recognize the stories attached to places like Bandelier, and even archaeological findings like these three sherds, and how they impact our understanding of Native American history and survival. 

-Jinette Jimenez ‘21, JIAAW Records and Collections Assistant

Check out the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center Indigenous Peoples’ Day programming: https://indianpueblo.org/indigenous-peoples-day-october-12th-2020/

Explore the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center website: https://indianpueblo.org/

Read the New York Times article: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/06/travel/ancestral-puebloans-us-southwest.html

Visit Brown’s Native American and Indigenous Studies Initiative website: https://www.brown.edu/academics/native-american-and-indigenous-studies/native-american-and-indigenous-studies

Browse the collection of the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology to see more of the indigenous arts of the Americas, Africa, Southeast Asia, and other parts of the world: https://de1.zetcom-group.de/MpWeb-mpBristolHaffenreffer/v?autologon=1