Ancestral Pueblo: Greater MogollonGreater Salado

Branch Name: Greater Salado

First posted by C. Dean Wilson 2013

Archaeologists have long attempted to describe and explain the apparent sudden appearance and widespread distribution of Roosevelt Red Ware or Salado Polychrome types and associated decorated and utility ware types. By the fourteenth century, similar ceramic assemblages characterized by the occurrence of distinct Salado types began to be distributed over an increasingly wide area of the Southwest earlier associated with Mogollon, Hohokam, and Anasazi ceramic traditions. These ceramic types are associated with other traits which commonly include cobble masonry, compound walls, and evidence of inhumation over an area that spans west to Verde Valley in Arizona east to the Mimbres Valley north to the Little Colorado Valley into the Casa Grandes region in northern Mexico.

Issues relating to the potential classification and origin of the Salado Culture are closely related and a number of scenarios have been proposed relating to the origin and nature of the Salado. The appearance of Salado pottery was characterized by Haury (1945) as resulting from the movement of groups from the Little Colorado area into the Salt and Gila Basin from the twelfth to early thirteenth century (Haury 1945). The development of Salado Polychromes is sometimes attributed to potters from the Kayenta or Tusayan region who were thought to have developed distinct forms that quickly spread and were adopted by different groups with their own identities (Crown 1994). Thus, the spread of Salado pottery is sometimes attributed to immigrant enclaves who long maintained a shared Kayenta identity as they spread across the wide area attributed to the Salado (Lyons and Clark 2012). The Salado culture has also been described as the result of mingling of Mogollon and Western Anasazi groups in areas south of the Mogollon Rim (Haury 1945; McGregor 1965). Other interpretations of Salado origins include an in-situ development out of the Hohokam in the Tonto Basin and Salt-Gila Basin (Wasley 1967; Wood 1966).

Thus, the Salado may be assigned to different cultural areas or branches given one's view of Salado origins and perspective. Valid arguments may be made for the assignment of the Salado to the Hohokam, Mountain Mogollon, or Western Anasazi as well as assignment to a distinct culture unit. Given Salado sites in Southwest New Mexico consistently occur along drainages in the Mogollon Highlands including the Upper Gila and Mimbres valleys. Given the concentration of Salado sie in New Mexico in areas of New Mexico in the areas of the Mogollon highlands, for the purposes of this web-site the Salado is organized within theGreater Mogollon culture area. This should not be interpreted as indicating we feel the Salado is more closely linked to the Mogollon than other earlier occupied regions, and we recognize the importance of connections from other regions (Hohokam and Anasazi), as well as distinctive characteristics of the Salado that make it impossible to group into any earlier occupied Southwest region.

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