Phoenix Polychrome

Phoenix Polychrome is a type of Roosevelt Red Ware found in southern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico, but most abundant in the Phoenix Basin.

Archaeological Culture: Salado

Date Range: A.D. 1375-1450.

Construction: By coiling.

Firing: In an oxidizing atmosphere.

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

Temper: Moderately abundant fine water-worn sand.

Surface Finish: Slipped and polished.

Surface Color: Interior and exterior surfaces red (brown, if over-fired)

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


    • Paint: Black and white over red slip.
    • Pigments: Black: carbon, red: hematite, white: kaolin.
    • Design: Exterior only; designs similar to Gila and Tonto polychromes; interior never decorated, always slipped red.

Ninemile Polychrome has a banded zone of black-on-white interior decoration. Dinwiddie Polychrome is similar in form and design application, but is smudged.

Other Names: Phoenix Polychrome: Gila Variety, Phoenix Polychrome: Tonto Variety.

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.