The Salado began migrating out of the Tonto Basin after A.D. 1350, and by A.D. 1450, the Salado inhabitants of the region had moved on to other places.
Some archeologists suggest that the preceding years of drought and flood cycles and salinization of the fields collapsed the agricultural systems and alliances of the Salado people (e.g. Reid and Whittlesey 1997). Others, including Glen Rice think conflict and warfare provided the impetus for emigration. Archeologists are also not sure where the Salado people went when they left the Tonto Basin. Native American oral traditions indicate that some Salado people moved north and east to the Hopi and Zuni pueblos, west into the lower Salt River Valley, and south into to the Rio Grande and into northern Mexico. Just as the development of the local Salado culture in the Tonto Basin and the regional Salado Phenomenon remain a mystery, so too do the reasons for the disappearance of Salado iconography and the Salado way of life in the Southwest.
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Elson, Mark D.
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Prepared by Catherine Daquila and Duane Hubbard, 2008.
Last updated: August 14, 2017