Cliff White-on-red

Cliff White-on-red is a type of Roosevelt Red Ware found in southern New Mexico and southeastern Arizona.

Archaeological Culture: Salado

Date Range: A.D. 1390-1450

Construction: By coiling and scraping.

Firing: In an oxidizing atmosphere.

Core Color: Brick-red, tan, gray to black.

Temper: Moderately abundant fine water-worn sand.

Surface Finish: Well-polished, interior and exterior.

Surface Color: Red exterior, painted; smudged interior.

Forms: Recurved bowls; occasionally semi-flaring incurved and semi-flaring hemispherical bowls.


  • Paint: White over red slip.
  • Pigments: Red: hematite, white: kaolin.
  • Design: Exteriors painted; interiors smudged; designs painted with fairly wide lines or combination of wide and narrow lines; large solid motifs common, including bird wings, cross-hatching, checkerboards, negative elements, and parrots; layouts, from top to bottom, include a wide banding line below the rim, an unpainted zone, and a banded zone of decoration often marked at the upper boundary with a framing line with pendant motifs; thin lines with pendant dots uncommon.

Comparisons: Gila White-on-red, which was made by paddle-and-anvil , has lustrous striations from pattern-polishing, and thin line designs. Salado White-on-red is an obliterated corrugated type with designs similar to Gila White-on-red rather than Cliff White-on-red. Tularosa White-on-red is the most similar to Cliff White-on-red, but retains two to four unobliterated indented neck coils, has narrow painted lines, and has a predominance of interlocking rectangular frets and/or stepped motifs and general lack of solid and negative motifs and banding lines.

Compiled from the following sources:
Lyons, Patrick D., and Jeffery J. Clark. (2012) A Community of Practice in Diaspora: The Rise and Demise of Roosevelt Red Ware. In Potters and Communities of Practice: Glaze Paint and Polychrome Pottery in the American Southwest, A.D. 1250-1700, edited by L.S. Cordell and J.A. Habitcht-Mauche, pp. 19-33. Anthropological Papers No 75. University of Arizona, Tucson.

Neuzil, Anna A., and Patrick D. Lyons. (2005) An Analysis of Whole Vessels from the Mills Collection Curated at Eastern Arizona College, Thatcher, Arizona. Technical Report No. 2005-001. Center for Desert Archaeology, Tucson.

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