In this thesis, I discuss the function and use of decorated ceramic bowls at Fourmile Ruin, a Pueblo IV site located in east-central Arizona. My research focused on three wares dating to the Pueblo IV period of the American Southwest (AD 1275-1450): White Mountain Red Ware, Salado Polychrome, and Jeddito Yellow Ware. These wares represent the most abundant type of decorated ceramic bowls found at Fourmile Ruin. Ceramic wares and types are described, followed by a description of their physical and stylistic characteristics and functions, an analysis of how vessels were used, and, lastly, a discussion of the contexts within which ceramic bowls may have been used. I found that decorated ceramic bowls likely functioned as serving containers, and were used on a day-to-day basis. They also may have had a symbolic function, as evidenced by the use of decoration, color, and texture, and because of their possible uses in various social or religious rituals. Furthermore, the meaning of the vessels and their uses in rituals may have changed over time. From this information, I suggest that White Mountain Red Ware, Salado polychrome, and Jeddito Black-on-yellow bowls served as utilitarian serving containers, and as a means of communicating information about personal and group identity. They were used in contexts in which expressing, teaching and reinforcing important concepts may have been integral.



College and Department

Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Anthropology



Date Submitted


Document Type





Native Americans, Arizona, Ancestral Puebloan, Four Mile Ruin, ceramics

Included in

Anthropology Commons