Article Series

Series: Salado Overview

The origins and disappearance of the Salado inhabitants of the Tonto Basin has perplexed archeologists for many years.

  • Tonto National Monument

    Chapter 1: What Does Salado Mean?

    The Lower Cliff Dwelling at Tonto National Monument.

    The origins and disappearance of the Salado inhabitants of the Tonto Basin has perplexed archeologists for many years. Read more

  • Chapter 2: Tonto Basin Salado

    Looking out over Roosevelt Lake from Tonto National Monument’s Lower Cliff Dwelling

    The Salado Phenomenon consists of two different patterns - the “Local Salado” culture of the Tonto Basin, and the “Regional Salado” distribution of Salado polychrome ceramics and iconography (Dean 2000). Both patterns date to the Roosevelt and Gila phases of the Late Classic period, and in the Tonto Basin, these phases reflect the core of Salado culture in the region. Read more

  • Chapter 3: The Spread of Salado Iconography

    Tonto Polychrome ceramic vessel

    The spread of the Salado Polychrome iconography across the region may have been a response to environmental and cultural changes during the period of A.D. 1250-1450. Regional and local environmental crises, such as droughts, would have increased the uncertainty of food production, which, in turn, would have exaggerated social inequalities, unequal access to resources, and unequal distribution of wealth. Read more

  • Chapter 4: The Disappearance of the Salado and Literature Cited

    Upper cliff dwelling

    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. Read more