We have used several techniques in the field of scanning electron microscopy (SEM) to examine ceramic pot sherds from a number of archaeological sites in New Mexico in an effort to characterize the ceramic material and determine the origin of some of the vessels. Typical archaeological sites belonging to Pueblo Indian ancestors in New Mexico are littered with numerous fragments of vessels which served different purposes such as cooking, food/water storage, eating, and ceremonial. often different styles of painting and slipping found on these fragments relate to different temporal and cultural influences. An important question that arises during examination of the many types of sherds involves the origin of each of the vessels. Analysis of mineral content and mineral chemistry can help answer these questions.
Thin sections of pot sherds from 4 prehistoric Anasazi sites (A.D. 1150-1250) from south and central New Mexico, a prehistoric Anasazi site in northwestern New Mexico (Chaco Canyon, Pueblo Alto A.D. 1000 -1150), and an historic Pueblo site from the Spanish period (A.D. 1540-1700) were examined.