The Jemez nation migrated to "Canon de San Diego" region from the Four Corners area sometime between AD 1275 and 1350. Occupying numerous puebloan villages that were strategically located on the high mountain mesas and in the canyons that surround the present pueblo of Walatowa, which now constitutes some of the largest archaeological ruins in the United States.
The prehistoric presence of the Jemez Nation in the Canon de San Diego region is characterized by the manufacture and use of specific types of pottery. They produce five basic types, a unique slipped and decorated type that is referred to by archaeologists as "Jemez Black-on-White;" a cruder, apparently short lived variant that is referred to as "Jemez Black-on-White Rough;" an unslipped, undecorated utility pottery referred to as "Jemez Plain Utility;" and a slightly corrugated variant of the plain utility ware that is referred to as "Jemez Indented Corrugated."
The oral history of the Pueblo of Jemez, Walatowa, indicate that manufacturing of decorated pottery types of Jemez Black-on-White ceased sometime in the early to mid-eighteenth century when they reportedly shattered literally hundreds of the vessels, so that they would not get in to the hands of the Spanish. Manufacturing of this type was never resumed, and for the next 200 years, the Jemez People relied on decorated pottery obtained from their Keresan neighbors, primarily the Pueblo of Zia. Eventually, many of the Zia designs were incorporated into a new style of pottery which the Jemez again, began to produce around the turn of the century. Though based on Zia design, this new style of Jemez pottery soon emerged with a distinctive Jemez signature of black-on-red and black/red on tan.