Research Laboratories of Archaeology

Cherokee Pottery Revitalization Project (Brett Riggs)

    This program aims to reintroduce traditional, historic pottery styles among contemporary Cherokee potters in Swain, Jackson, and Graham counties in western North Carolina. At the request of modern Cherokee potters, the RLA developed a series of hands-on workshops to bring ethnographic and archaeological Cherokee pottery from RLA collections to Cherokee communities. RLA personnel helped interpret these wares for contemporary potters, and identified artists with technical expertise to assist Cherokee potters in the reproduction of traditional Cherokee wares from the period of AD 1500-1900. This initiative promises to reinvigorate markets for contemporary Cherokee pottery, enabling modern potters to continue their craft while preserving an ancient tradition. In a broader sense, the reintroduction of traditional styles among contemporary potters is viewed in the local community as a stepping stone in reclamation of an endangered heritage.

    Some recent press releases and news articles: