Andy Ward Pottery
traditional SW pottery

Suggestions for Salado Polychrome Research

In Ceramics and Ideology Patricia Crown compared the composition of Salado polychrome sherds from across the region to prove that Salado polychromes were produced over a wide area instead of a few locations and traded widely. It would be enlightening to compare Salado polychrome composition with that of other sherds from the same site, particularly plain ware which is more likely to be locally made, to prove that it is in fact made locally.

Much is made of the composition, color, texture, etc of the paste of Salado polychromes while the white slip gets little if any attention. An analysis of Salado white slip would be most interesting, it is quite simple to scrape off the white slip and analyze it alone. Slip usually has no additives to contaminate it like paste does which is usually tempered and can be mixed with clay from different sources. Patricia Crown highlighted the similarity of color among Salado polychrome red slips and suggests that they may all come from the same source, but practically ignores the white slip which is also very consistent and a much rarer commodity than red.


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About Andy Ward

I am an independent researcher, writer and artist interested in all things Southwestern. Southeast Arizona is my home and area of primary interest.

2 thoughts on “Suggestions for Salado Polychrome Research”

  1. If the composition of the white slip is consistently the same material available in limited areas but universal in its application that argues for at least two possible conclusions: 1) there was a systematic control of the production of authentic Salado wares enforced by tradition and 2) the white slip material would be a valuable trade item along the lines of chalcedonies, obsidian or buff clays.
    Ergo the San Pedro becomes a source area because it is readily traversable and the Benson source you cited earlier would be very logical mining source.

  2. Andy Ward says:

    I would like the Benson source to be it, but it’s just so peripheral to the Salado heartland, I am going looking in the Safford and Globe areas, at least if I don’t find it there I will feel better about the Benson source.

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