Ceramic Field Identification Manual
Agua Fria National Monument Project

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Los Muertos Polychrome


PERIOD: Late Classic/Pueblo IV

DATES: A.D. 1350 to A.D. +


GEOGRAPHIC RANGE: Most frequent in late assemblages in the Phoenix Basin and on Perry Mesa. Specimens have been recorded in the Upper Tonto Basin, the Globe Highlands, and as far east as Safford. Possibly may be found in the range of all Gila Polychromes which occurs east to west from the Agua Fria River to the Rio Grande and north to south from the Little Colorado River to Sonora and Chihuahua (Lyons 2005; Wood 1987).


See Ware Description, except:

Vessel Forms: bowls and jars

DECORATION AND PAINT: displays characteristics typical of Gila Polychrome. Painted bowl interiors and some exteriors. Paint is black carbon placed on a white design field. The black carbon paint does not touch the red slip. Red slip consists of a thin hematite wash. Decorative motifs include solid rectilinear and curvilinear geometric designs which appear to incorporate both Hohokam and White Mountain decorative traditions. Although similar to the preceding Pinto Polychrome designs, Gila Polychrome designs typically are bolder and more variable. The distinguishing characteristic of Los Muertos Polychrome is the addition of narrow, red painted lines applied to the white slipped areas alongside black painted lines(Crown 1981; Wood 1987) .

REMARKS: Type also known as Las Colinas Polychrome (Abbott and Gregory 1988:25; Crown 1981:147) Gila Polychrome/Hatched (Crown 1981:147), and Gila Polychrome, Trichrome Variety (Motsinger 1995:176). Design elements are the same as Gila Polychrome with the exception of narrow red lines painted on the white slip between the black painted areas and the red slip (Crown 1981:147; Abbott and Gregory 1988:25).

Authored by: Christopher E. Rayle

Authored by: 2005 NAU Ceramic Analysis class and Prof. Kelley Hays-Gilpin
Northern Arizona University - Anthropology Department

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