Hohokam

The Hohokam Culture evolved in the deserts of southern Arizona, extending southward into extreme northern Mexico and northward at times as far as Flagstaff.

Characteristics

The Hohokam seem to have been influenced by the Mesoamerican peoples to the south. Platform mounds and ballcourts for ritual activities are characteristic features of Central American cultures at this time. Family groups lived along the river drainages, and were pioneers in the use of extensive irrigation systems. The Hohokam grew corn, beans and squash, as did other Southwestern cultures, as well as cotton, agave, and other native plants. They supplemented this diet by hunting deer and rabbits and by gathering local plants. The Hohokam were the first and only Southwestern group to regularly cremate their dead.

House Types

Hohokam sites consist of shallow pithouses arranged in groups around a common plaza. The pithouses were constructed of jacal, a type of wattle-and-daub construction. The plaza grouping probably housed lineages, groups of people with common ancestors.

Pottery

Hohokam pottery tends to be constructed of buff or light brown clay, and are constructed using the paddle-and-anvil technique. These are often decorated with red geometric designs, usually banded or allover patterns of repeated small motifs. 

Pimeria Brown Ware
Hohokam Buff Ware


Pimeria Brown Ware

Hohokam utility pottery is categorized as Pimeria Brown Ware.

Material: The clay is gray to brown and is characteristically tempered with mica flakes, giving the surface of vessels a glittery aspect.
Construction: Paddle-and-anvil
Firing: Oxidizing atmosphere
Forms: Flaring rims on both bowls and jars typical, and later vessels have a "Gila shoulder", an angled portion of the vessel's curvature  which usually lies well below the center.

Gila Plain
Gila Plain was one of the earliest of the Hohokam types, being found as far back as 150 AD. The type persisted throughout Hohokam history.

Found throughout Hohokam History


Hohokam Buff Ware

Hohokam culture was not widespread and thus pottery was relatively homogeneous. All Hohokam pottery is therefore categorized as Hohokam Buff Ware.

Material: The clay is characteristically tempered with mica flakes, giving the surface of vessels a glittery aspect.
Construction: Paddle-and-anvil
Firing: Oxidizing atmosphere
Forms: Flaring rims on both bowls and jars typical, and later vessels have a "Gila shoulder", an angled portion of the vessel's curvature  which usually lies well below the center.

Gila Butte Red-on-Buff — 500 - 700
Gila Butte Red-on-Buff was one of the earliest of the Hohokam painted types, and is the diagnostic type for the Gila Butte Phase.

Early Colonial Phase

Santa Cruz Red-on-Buff — 700 - 900
Santa Cruz Red-on-Buff was the diagnostic pottery type during the Santa Cruz Phase, and is characterized by extremely thin vessel walls.

Late Colonial Phase

Sacaton Red-on-Buff — 900 - 1100
Sacaton Red-on-Buff is the diagnostic pottery type for the Sedentary Phase. Vessels have pronounced Gila shoulders and painted decoration tends to be panelized.

Sedentary Phase