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One of the most fascinating study areas in Hohokam archaeology is the analization of ceramics. Hohokam potters made two primary types of pottery with many different shapes and styles. The fist type is a plain ware that was fired in oxidation. Plain wares were likely utilitarian and exhibit warm colors such as dark orange with black and grey fire clouds. The second type of ceramic we see is a decorated red-on-buff ware. These pots were produced by specialists in the middle Gila River valley and were distributed equally in marketplaces during the preclassic period. Red-on-buff ceramic designs and iconography share Mesoamerican attributes, and change as time progresses. Early decorations show lifeforms such as animals associated with the sky, water, and land. Later decorations are more abstract and exhibit geometric shapes. Moreover, red-on-buff types were tempered with fine grain mica schist, and were also fired in oxidation

Most of my blogs are information and experimental based. However, this one is quite different. Indeed, I can write ten detailed pages discussing Hohokam ceramics to its fullest extent, I feel it is appropriate to create an initial post showing how alluring decorated Hohokam pottery is. While looking at each photo, keep in mind each pot shares a story of religious ideology, mythology and belief structure. Furthermore, some pots depict how each crafts-person viewed their natural world..


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Jeff Martin


  1. Pam VandeWater on November 25, 2020 at 12:51 am


    I am a naturalist with the Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalists in Tucson. We are a non-profit organization that educates children about the Sonoran Desert and the anthropology and archeology of the area. Due to the pandemic, we are creating more virtual ways to work with students while they can’t be with us outdoors in the canyon.

    We would like to request permission to use one of the pictures included in your article if at all possible for a video lesson. (The picture requested is the very first one on the page which is a grouping of pots.

    Thanks so much!

    Pam VandeWater

    • Primitive Lifeways on December 5, 2020 at 3:44 am

      You are welcome to use that photo. That photo and others were not taken by us. We found them through searches in data bases which grants public permission. Thank you so much and I hope you enjoy the new Primitive Lifeways website.