Casa Grande Red-on-buff

Casa Grande Red-on-buff sherds. Click the image to open the Casa Grande Red-on-buff gallery.

Casa Grande Red-on-buff was the latest type of Hohokam Buff Ware produced and is most abundant in the Gila Basin.

Archaeological Culture: Hohokam

Date Range: ca. A.D. 1150-1300/1375

Construction: By paddle and anvil.

Firing: In an oxidizing atmosphere.

Temper: Sand-sized inclusions; little to no schist.
Surface Finish: Porous and non-porous; mica sometimes visible; buff or white slipped; can be unslipped brown; hand smoothed and tool polished. Slip, if present, is often thick, but flaky and pitted.

Paste Color: Buff, pink, peach, and near white.

Forms: Jars and pitchers with straight necks, mold inset shoulders, and occasional low Gila shoulders; pitchers may be diagnostic; bowls rare.


  • Paint: Bright red, dull red, or purplish red.
  • Pigments: Iron oxide mineral paint.
  • Design: Open, simplified panel designs; small geometric elements in solid voids; panels of straight lines; chevron patterns; alternating wavy and straight lines; interlocking curvilinear and rectilinear scrolls and frets; thick line work; barbed or ticked embellishment on interior line. Jars tend to have two bands of design (large on body and small on neck); fields subdivided, with open space within the design field; primary designs on bowls are on the exterior.
  • Incising: None.

Key Traits: Vessel form (tall straight necks and mold inset shoulders; pitchers); neck designs; solid void motif.

Comparisons: Sacaton Red-on-buff jars lack neck designs and open space within the design field; pitchers are likely unique to Casa Grande Red-on-buff.

Compiled from the following sources:
Heckman, Robert A., Barbara K. Montgomery, and Stephanie M. Whittlesey. (2000) Prehistoric Painted Pottery of Southeastern Arizona. Technical Series 77. Statistical Research, Inc. Tucson.

Wallace, Henry D. (2004) Update to the Middle Gila Buff Ware Ceramic Sequence. In Hohokam Farming on the Salt River Flood-plain: Refining Models and Analytical Methods, edited by T. Kathleen Henderson, pp. 45-124. Anthropological Papers No. 43. Center for Desert Archaeology, Tucson.

Compiled by:
Meghann M. Vance, Northern Arizona University Anthropology Laboratories