The Salado Culture represents a mixture of Mogollon, Hohokam and Anasazi peoples. The Hohokam and Mogollon had already been interacting in this area for some time, but it was not until the first influx of Anasazi peoples, probably originating in the Little Colorado area, that this mixture of peoples began to develop its own distinct character. This occured around 1100 AD, and is evidenced in the appearance at this time of black-on-white pottery types. A second wave occured around 1250 AD, this time seen in the emergence of polychrome pottery.


The heterogeneous nature of the Salado culture is seen in its diagnostic features. Both pottery and house types take on a distinctly Pueblo character. Extended inhumation (being buried in a stretched out position), extensive use of basketry, and manufacture of blankets are all Pueblo characteristics, while fine shell work is more indicative of the Hohokam.

House Types

Early Salado sites were compounds, groups of very shallow pithouses or surface dwellings connected and surrounded by a common wall. This may have come to the Salado from the Mogollon, who had already been moving from pithouses to surface pueblos. Somewhat later, with the influx of Anasazi, the compounds contained stone-built or adobe residential blocks more closely resembling the pueblos of the north.


The first wave of Anasazi influence was accompanied by the adaptation of certain northern black-on-white pottery types, such as Tularosa Black-on-White. The new type, Roosevelt Black-on- White, has all of the decorative elements of the Tularosa style, but differs in physical characteristics. The second wave saw the dissemination of polychrome pottery types such as Wingate and St. Johns. These evolved locally into Gila, Tonto and Pinto polychromes. These latter pottery types fall into the category of Roosevelt Red Ware.

Roosevelt Red Ware

Roosevelt Red Ware comprises a number of types produced in the middle Gila River area, between Phoenix and the New Mexico border. Of particular interest are the Salado polychromes, which were widely traded and are easy to recognize. Rather than black and white paints applied to a red-slipped base, as in other Anasazi polychromes, Salado polychromes have black paint applied to a white-slipped zone (either the interior of a bowl or a portion of the exterior) with no painting in the red-slipped zones.

Material: The clay is sometimes tempered with mica flakes, giving the surface of vessels a glittery aspect.
Construction: Coiling-and-scraping
Firing: Oxidizing atmosphere
Forms: Flaring rims on both bowls and jars present, and some vessels have a "Gila shoulder", an angled portion of the vessel's curvature  which usually lies well below the center. Bowls and jars tend to be rather large.

Pinto Polychrome — 1250 - 1400
Pinto Polychrome probably developed slightly earlier than Gila Polychrome. The decoration seems to be related to Cibola Black-on-White types.

Polychrome Phase

Cliff Polychrome — 1350 - 1600

Tonto Polychrome — 1350 - 1600
Tonto Polychrome probably developed out of earlier Pinto and Gila Polychromes. Red and white slips are applied to the exteriors of bowls, but unlike Gila Polychrome, the interiors are undecorated but sometimes smudged.

Polychrome Phase