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Texas Women's History Month: Caddo Women Potters

Archeological records revealed the existence of a strong tradition of pottery-making by Caddo women dating back to about 800 in the Common Era. For hundreds of years, Caddo women made pottery for daily use, as well as for decorative uses and cultural rites and rituals. The extraordinary skill and creativity of Caddo potters is confirmed by the tens of thousands of pottery fragments or near-complete ceramics found at Caddo archeological sites.

Working with clay gathered from riverbanks, Caddo potters fashioned hardy and plain bowl, jar, and bottle forms for use in cooking and storage. They also made more elaborate vessels, engraving their works with flint tools and firing them over open flames to produce rich earth-tone colors. Highly valued, this pottery was traded outside Caddo homelands.

When the Caddo were removed from Texas to Indian Territory in Oklahoma in 1859, their tradition of pottery-making died out. Recently, however, Jereldine Redcorn revived it, teaching herself the techniques of her ancestors. Caddo women potters’ ancient contributions to Texas art and culture can still be studied and admired because of the examples preserved by the University of Texas at Austin on the Texas Beyond History Web site. 

This month, KUT is partnering with the Ruthe Winegarten Foundation to celebrate Women's History Month. Every day, we'll bring you a short feature spotlighting a historic woman, movement, or group of women in Texas.