Southwest Snake Imagery in Salado Polychromes

Date and Time: 
Friday, 18 March, 2016 - 09:30
, Elizabeth - University of Arizona

Is it possible to identify the imagery of snakes in the stylized iconography found on the Salado polychrome (Roosevelt Red Ware) vessels dating from 1250-1450 AD in the US Southwest? Building on previous work on the iconography of Salado vessels by Patricia Crown and efforts to identify fish species found on photoreal Mimbres vessels by Jett and Moyle, this project looks at geospatial data on the distribution of Salado polychromes as well as data on local snake species for insights on what local species may have inspired these designs. In addition, this project looks at diagnostic traits from fifteen species to see if those traits might be reflected in the imagery of these pre-Hispanic ceramics. The Salado “phenomena” may reflect movement across the Mogollon Rim, a key biological transition zone, indicating that the appearance of these motifs may reflect regional migrations in the Southwest during this significant period of change.