Perforated ceramic plates have intrigued southwestern archaeologists since the late 1800s, when they were first encountered at the Classic period platform-mound sites of the Phoenix Basin and the protohistoric villages of the Hopi Mesas. Residues, contextual clues, and usewear suggest that perforated plates were used as base-molds in pottery making, and/or as potters’ turntables. Updated information regarding the function, dating, and distribution of these objects is presented in this paper. These data, along with the results of recent research in the San Pedro River Valley (including compositional analyses), establish a strong connection between immigrant groups from northern Arizona and the origin and spread of the Salado phenomenon that linked populations in central and southern Arizona, western New Mexico, and northern Sonora and Chihuahua.
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