Malcolm J. Rogers as an Ethnoarchaeologist: Reflections from Santa Catarina, Baja California

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Pacific Coast Archaeological Society


The work of Malcolm J. Rogers on the ceramic traditions of southern California, northern Baja California, and adjacent regions of Arizona laid the foundations for the study of Yuman ceramics. In particular, his interviews with living potters enabled him to incorporate detailed ethnographic data into his seminal work, Yuman Pottery Making, which is recognized as an early example of ceramic ethnoarchaeology and remains essential reading for archaeologists interested in the Yuman ceramic tradition. This article takes stock of the lasting contributions of Rogers to the ethnoarchaeology of ceramic production in the region, examines some potential shortcomings of his work in light of the subsequent development of ethnoarchaeology as a particular focus in archaeological research, and relates Rogers’ research to our own studies of Yuman ceramic technology in the Paipai Indian community of Santa Catarina, Baja California, where modern potters have continued the evolution of utilitarian plainwares into contemporary art forms