The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

Cultural Resources Management Archaeology: M.S.




College of Liberal Arts

First Advisor

Mark Muniz

Second Advisor

Rob Mann

Third Advisor

Mark Varien

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

Archaeology, Pueblo, Colorado, Pottery, Skill, Metaphor


The theory of conceptual metaphor through material culture posits that human physical experience with natural and cultural materials serves as the basis for the development of abstract knowledge (Tilley 1999). Apprenticeship theories in archaeology (e.g. Walleart ed. 2012) study how craft knowledge is transmitted generationally. Combining these approaches, this thesis seeks to understand if the “container metaphor” (sensu Ortman 2000a, 2012) was taught by adults and learned by children at the Sand Canyon Pueblo archaeological site in southwest Colorado, by comparing white ware pottery produced by children to those produced by adults. Patricia Crown’s (1999, 2001, 2002) 18-point attribute analysis for determining the age and skill level of producers of painted designs of pre-Hispanic southwestern ceramics was adapted and tested on those vessels.

The results of the study show that most ladles and several other vessels exhibit multiple less-skilled techniques that strongly suggest childhood production. It is determined that the attribute analysis can be usefully employed to assess a range of skills not necessarily related to youth production, as it is demonstrated more broadly that relative levels of exhibited skill in painting are tied to specific vessel forms. It is shown that circles are near universally communicated as a design motif on pottery containers by all members of the Sand Canyon community of practice, regardless of age or skill. It is suggested that CIRCLES ARE CONTAINERS was a metaphor learned and experienced during childhood. Possible metaphorical links between ladles and childhood are considered. However, more research is needed to develop these ideas further.



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