WHO WERE THE SALADO CERAMICALLY?
By Dan King, October 2004, www.rarepottery.info
From a ceramicist's point of view, it seems that when some Anasazi people migrated down from the north and joined the Mogollon culture at Point of Pines (and possibly other sites along the Mogollon Rim) the Salado were born, or at least the Salado Tradition (Haury,1989;116). One type of ceramic evidence of this is Maverick Mountain Polychrome, produced at Point of Pines, a redware and considered the local copy of the northern Tsegi Orangeware type: Kiet Siel Polychrome. Pinto Polychrome and Gila Polychrome were also produced at sites along the Mogollon Rim. Gila Polychrome produced at these sites have crushed sherd temper and are known as "Gila Polychrome Pinedale Variety" (Wood,1987;44).
A while later the Salado immigrated and descended upon many Hohokam villages in the Safford area along the Gila and San Pedro Rivers, as well as into the Tonto Basin, and along the lower Verde River. It is my opinion that the "absorbed" Hohokam potters continued to produce traditional "paddle and anvil" thinned Gila Plain, Gila Red, and Casa Grande Red-on-Buff pottery at a number of these sites, while the "newcomer" Salado potters continued to produce their traditional "coil and scrape" plain, red, corrugated, and a variety of painted pottery types. Doyle acknowledges that "Hohokam Gila Plain" and "Salado Tonto Plain" are separate types (Doyle, 1978;88). He also described Tonto Plain as "scraped, often paddled" (Doyle, 1978;30). This seems contradictory as we generally define Hohokam potters as to have produced "paddle and anvil" thinned pottery, and Salado potters to have produced "coil and scraped" pottery. Wood describes Tonto Plain as a derivative of Gila Plain and that "It follows the same developmental trends in finishing, thickness, and use of smudging seen in Gila Plain." (Wood, 1987; 13). I interpret plain ware from these sites as either Salado Tonto Plain, or Hohokam Gila Plain depending on the method of manufacture. Tonto Plain (and Tonto Red) being coiled and scraped, Gila Plain (and Gila Red) being paddle and anvil thinned. Hohokam Gila Plain - Tonto Variety will be paddle and anvil thinned and have large quartz grains and/or gold mica abundantly showing on the surface.
A group of Salado continued to make Maverick Mountain Polychrome in the Safford area (Woodsen,1995;180), while other groups made Pinto Redwares (then later produced Gila and Tonto Redwares). This brings up the point that the Salado (considered by many to be a "branch" of the Mogollon) may have split into many "branches" of somewhat independent traditions. The branch that continued to make Maverick Mountain Polychrome and Tucson Polychrome would be one. The main branch or the most popular Salado tradition would have to be the ones that made Pinto Polychrome, Gila Polychrome, and Tonto Polychrome. The ones that made San Carlos Red-on-Brown and San Carlos Red-on-White may be considered another branch. The ones that made Salado Red, and Salado White-on-Red in the Tonto Basin would possibly be yet another "branch". The Salado duplicated or imitated many other pottery types and styles, perhaps as a result of the "blending" of cultures.
When the Salado migrated south down off the Mogollon Rim and "blended" with other cultures along the Gila River and especially in the Safford area, many potters produced Mogollon Brownwares duplicating types such as Reserve Corrugated, Reserve Plain, Tularosa Fillet Rim, Tularosa Corrugated, Starkweather Smudged, McDonald Corrugated, and Cibecue Polychrome. Many of these duplicated types were not as finely made or finished as vessels of the same types produced to the north along the Mogollon Rim. The "Safford wares" were made with local clays and often have a "softer" or more dull appearance compared to the northern wares. Often the northern types are more well polished and smudged. A petrographic analysis of the temper of the "Safford wares" could prove that they should be considered a variety of the northern produced wares.
"Roosevelt Black-on-White" was a popular published type that seems to have lost its credibility as a type. Analysts conclude that all "Roosevelt Black-on-White" can be segregated into the Cibola Whiteware types: Snowflake, Reserve, Tularosa, and Pinedale Black-on-Whites. These types found in the Roosevelt lake and adjacent areas seem to have a thicker white slip than those produced to the north. The southern produced wares should be considered varieties of the northern produced wares.
In conclusion, ceramically the Salado were most famous for producing Pinto, Gila, and Tonto Polychromes and yet when considered as a larger group, produced many different wares.
Interested readers should also see the article
"Ceramic "Proof" of Ancient Migrations" in this guide.
This page last revised: 08/30/2012
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