Anthropology Student Publications

Document Type


Publication Date



Since water transport vessels are often a highly conservative vessel form, the appearance of a new water vessel shape—the flat-backed canteen—in the American Southwest around the time of Spanish arrival raises questions concerning its introduction. These data are the basis of a study aimed at documenting the presence of the flat-backed canteen in the American Southwest from the sixteenth through twentieth centuries and explores changes in their distribution and use through time. A total of 128 flat-backed canteens were analyzed from archaeological and ethnographic collections, while 97 additional New World canteens were documented through an extensive literature review. Its contemporary use in Spain is demonstrated, in addition to its arrival in the Spanish-controlled Caribbean. I conclude that multiple Pueblos adopted the form in the sixteenth century, followed by a contraction in use in the eighteenth century, and a revival of the form in the nineteenth century.



Publication Title

On the Origins of Flat-Backed Canteens in the American Southwest

Language (ISO)



canteen, water vessel, entrada, southwest, ceramics, cantimplora