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Tucson Polychrome may have been originally described by Clark, 1935:Plate XXVI. It is also described in more detail in the book, Excavations, 1940, at University Indian Ruin, by Hayden, Danson, and Wallace; 1957. On page 226, under Tucson Polychrome, the first sentence reads: “Tucson Polychrome seems to be a locally made ware.” This was based on a petrographic analysis (microscopic study) of the temper of most types of ceramics found there.  Some of the types tested were plainware, redware, Gila Polychrome, Tucson Polychrome, and Tanque Verde Red-on-Brown. Interestingly, this analysis showed that hematite was not found in any other ware tested except both Gila and Tucson Polychrome and was noted as “unexplainable” (Hayden, Danson, Wallace, 1957: 214,216). Could it be that both Gila and Tucson Polychromes were imports or trade wares from the Salado? If Tucson Polychrome was produced at University Indian Ruin, one would expect the temper of Tucson Polychrome to be virtually identical to some other ware produced at the same site. If petrographic analysis were done, say on Saguaro or Tanque Verde Polychrome compared to their derivative Tanque Verde Red-on-Brown, or perhaps Rio Rico Polychrome compared to it’s derivative Rincon Red-on-Brown, or even Rincon Polychrome compared to it’s derivative Rincon Red, one would expect the tempers to be virtually identical with any of these pairs if they were produced at the same site contemporaneously. Tucson Polychrome doesn't seem to be derivative of any other ware found at University Indian Ruin. More noticeable and perhaps more important, is the difference in design between Tucson Polychrome and Hohokam wares. Tucson Polychrome is more similar with certain Salado Redwares (polychromes and bichromes) in design layout and motifs than any Hohokam ware. Tucson Polychrome is contemporaneous with Tanque Verde Red-on-Brown, if Tucson Polychrome were made by the Hohokam, one would expect Hohokam, or more Precisely, Tanque Verde designs on the ware. Even though there was much more Gila Polychrome found at University Indian Ruin than Tucson Polychrome, Gila Polychrome was considered an intrusive ware, (Hayden, Danson, Wallace, 1957:121,122) indicating trade with the Salado (Most archaeologists interpret that the Salado were descendants of the Mogollon). Finally, and perhaps most important, is the construction of Tucson Polychrome. Tucson Polychrome was constructed by the “coil and scrape” method, (Hayden, Danson, Wallace, 1957:227) a Salado trait, while most all Hohokam pottery produced at that time was constructed by coiled, paddle and Anvil thinned, then scraped method, or for short, "paddle and anvil" method.

Interestingly, bowls have been found in the Tonto National Forest (and elsewhere) that have Tucson Polychrome designs on the exteriors, and Pinto or Gila designs painted on white slipped interiors (see vessel #4Y of the Gila Polychrome Variants in the Salado section of this guide). The vast majority of Tucson Polychrome was produced at Salado sites along the Gila River. Many Hohokam site locations were "gradually taken over" by the Salado and  became Salado sites.  This could have been what was happening at University Indian Ruin.  So even if some Tucson Polychrome was produced at University Indian Ruin, it seems more likely to be a type of Salado ware and not a Hohokam ware (visitors may want to read the article "Who were the Salado Ceramically?" in this guide).


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