Why Corrugated Cooking Pots?

In the early 11th century CE, the use of full body corrugated cooking pots spread rapidly through Ancestral Puebloan populations. This corrugation technology grew out of plain and neck-banded antecedents and was eventually replaced in the 15th century by a return to plain cooking pots. Several possible explanations have been proposed to account for this change, but none has garnered sustained support. During the 1990s while working at Crow Canyon Archaeological Center and as part of my PhD research, Dr. Pierce performed extensive literature review, detailed technological analyses, and controlled experiments to further the understanding of the adoption of corrugated cooking pots. Dr. Pierce’s work identified the technological changes involved in the development of corrugation, documented the spread of these technologies across the northern Southwest, and demonstrated cost and performance differences between plain and corrugated vessels. In this presentation, Chris reviews the results of his earlier work, presents four new possible explanations for the adoption and eventual rejection of corrugated cooking pots, and evaluates evidence to test one of these hypotheses.