Desert Peoples / Native Peoples

Plainware Olla

Plainware Olla

ca. 1800s

Cahuilla: kávamal (small necked); kávishmal (large mouth)
Chemehuevi: paimen’i
Mojave: ‘ahapuruy

Two types of ceramic storage pots were traditionally used in the Joshua Tree area. Those with a small neck opening were used to hold water, and those with a wider neck opening stored seeds and other perishables and keep them protected from pests. The Spanish term “olla” is used for this shape of container.

A hole or small crack near the base of this olla was repaired with a natural resin made from mesquite sap or creosote lac (the result of an insect secretion on creosote plants). Based on the archeological record, ceramics were very rarely used in Southern California prior to AD 1000.

Native clay, resin and sherd repair. H 43, Dia 36 cm
Joshua Tree National Park, JOTR 254