Archaeology Week: Part 3

Jan 27, 2010 Leave a Comment

This is my third installment discussing archaeology in the southwest.  It is the last of my posts from my previous training.  Hopefully, tomorrow and/or Friday I will have something new to share with you.  


Prehistoric trade became very complexto the point where products were being manufactured and traded by specialists. Trade products included:


Pottery appears to be coming from several different areas as part of a sophisticated trade economy.  The many different types of pottery are seen most commonly today as “sherds” or little pieces of broken pottery.  Here’s some of the coolest ones I found.


The piece of pottery in the last picture is sitting on a piece of tuff, which often indicates a doorway to a prehistoric structure.  So it's kinda like a doorstep.

The best ceramics were made in the earliest times and became more simple and coarse as time went on.  This concept can be compared to similar changes in modern manufacturing with changes in the economy.

Luxury Items

Shells from the Pacific Coast of California, near LA, were easy to manipulate into jewelry and transport to make a large profit.

Turquoise, another luxury item, was rare and transported long distances.

Other Products

Other products brought to trade were heavy rock baskets made out of igneous rock; axes made of green diorite (mass produced); products made of obsidian, hematite, chert and quartz; baskets; finished clothing; etc.

Oh, and one more thing…

Pretty much all these artifacts can be found not only at the living sites themselves, but also in prehistoric garbage dumps called trash mounds. Yep, the prehistoric people had landfills too!

That’s about all I’ve got.  Hope you enjoyed it.  I ruined a perfectly good pair of jeans trying to get all this information.

But it was worth it.


  • Camille said:  

    When I was in elementary school, I just knew I wanted to be an archaeologist when I grew up.

    High school changed that, but reading this post makes me a little sad I didn't follow through with that dream.

  • Chloe said:  

    When I was 9 I also wanted to be an archaeologist... But after that, I discovered English was my real passion.

  • carma said:  

    I made pottery in earnest for three years so I still have boxes of it in the closet - maybe someday new civilizations will be digging up my potter shards ;-)

  • Joy said:  

    Interesting! Thanks for getting dirty.

  • Mindee said:  

    Hi Maureen,

    I have to get my science minded son by this blog later today. He'll love all this - thanks for documenting.

    Also, thanks for stopping by my blog and participating in my give away.

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