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Possible 18th-Century Souvenirs Unearthed in Arizona

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Arizona Zuni PotteryTUCSON, ARIZONA—Analysis of pottery unearthed in downtown Tucson suggests that Spanish soldiers on an expedition in what is now New Mexico in 1795 may have transported Zuni pottery souvenirs back to the Presidio Real de San Agustín del Tucson, which was established by the Spanish Army in 1775, according to a Tucson.com report. The pottery fragments were found in 2019 in a trash pit that also contained animal bones, musket balls, gun parts, flints, buttons, seashell jewelry, and belt buckle fragments. Archaeologist Homer Thiel said most of the pottery fragments in the pit were red and brown, from vessels that had been made by the local Tohono O’odham. But 29 pieces of whiteware pottery associated with the Pueblo people of northern Arizona and western New Mexico were also recovered. Ceramic analyst Jim Heidke determined that four of these fragments had been made by the Zuni in the late 1700s or early 1800s, in a style known for its white-polished coating and bold red and black decorations. “It’s pretty distinctive. There’s nothing else like it,” Heidke said. The presidio inhabitants also owned majolica dishes from Mexico City, Chinese porcelains, and olive jars from Europe, Thiel added. To read about the Pueblo Revolt against Spanish rule in 1694, go to "The First American Revolution."

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