Internal and external relationships of Saskatchewan Plains pottery assemblages: circa A.D. 1300 to contact
Malainey, Mary Evelyn
The study of cultural dynamics of the Late Prehistoric period on the Saskatchewan Plains has been hampered by the lack of recognition of two distinct kinds of pottery. The pottery found most commonly south of the Qu'Appelle has many of the characteristics of Mortlach aggregate pottery. Certain attributes such as Wedge and Straight Rim profiles with check-stamped, simple-stamped, plain or cord-roughened exterior surfaces are most common. The decoration on these vessels is usually limited to right oblique dentate or cordwrapped tool impressions on the brim. The pottery found most commonly north of the Qu'Appelle and into the parklands is different. The dominant vessel profiles are Straight Rim, Angled Rim and S-Profiles. These pots tend to have either fabric-impressed, cord-roughened or plain exterior surfaces. While much of the decoration is executed in cord-wrapped tool, many other techniques frequently appear. Although horizontal lines are the most common decoration, elaborate patterns appear on the exterior surface of some vessels. Right oblique impressions regularly appear on the brim; however, a wide variety of lip decorations occur on the pottery. The characteristics of this central Saskatchewan pottery most closely resemble those associated with Wascana ware, originally described in 1959 by Alice Kehoe. The definition of Wascana ware provided by Kehoe (1959) was very loose. While Kehoe and Kehoe (1968) acknowledged the separation between Mortlach and the central Saskatchewan pottery, the distinction between Selkirk and Wascana ware was unclear. Byrne (1973) labelled the pottery from central Saskatchewan as Mortlach, in particular Lake Midden and Stoney Beach, although this pottery does not have Mortlach attributes. Meanwhile, archaeologists working on material from North Dakota and Montana more closely adhered to Wettlaufer's (1955) definition as modified by Kehoe and Kehoe (1968) . Thus for the past 18 years, the archaeologists who follow Byrne (1973) have operated under a much broader definition of Mortlach than those who did not. The separation of pottery north of the Qu'Appelle from Mortlach is demonstrated in this thesis and the differences between the two kinds of pottery are quantified. The term Wascana ware is reintroduced as the name of the central Saskatchewan pottery. It is suggested that the Wascana pottery was made by the Atsina/Gros Ventre. Evidence from European travellers is used to support this ethnic identification.