Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash Player


This large storage pot, or olla, was found during excavation of Furnace Flats 2. This type of vessel was used for everyday tasks such as cooking or storing water or food. The blackened outer surface suggests that this pot was used for cooking prior to being buried in the floor. A valuable item such as a pot may have had multiple uses through time. 

Archaeologists classify ceramics based upon construction technique, clay type, firing method, color, and style of decoration. This olla was manufactured by coiling and scraping, and the style is known as Tusayan Corrugated. It was made sometime between A.D. 1070 and 1130.

The olla was buried in the dirt floor and covered with a stone slab. The pot may have been placed there for safe-keeping, or it may have been buried and used to store things below the floor during the most recent occupation. Although the pot was excavated in one piece, it had a long crack running down one side. It was packed extremely carefully, but had to be transported by raft through some of the canyon’s biggest rapids. When the pot was unpacked at MNA the crack had given way. It likely broke as the raft crashed through the waves of one of the rapids.

Although it was a disappointment when the pot broke, no archaeological information was lost. The pot will be preserved in Grand Canyon National Park’s Museum Collection and displayed in interpretive exhibits about the excavation project.
Click and drag your mouse to move the vessel in three dimensions.
Learn more about the discovery of this vessel.