"TUCSON POLYCHROME" Made by Hohokam or Salado?
By Dan King, July 2004, www.rarepottery.info
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.
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