The Sinagua Branch presents a somewhat more complete and coherent picture that do the Salado or Prescott Branches. A great deal of this picture however, is based upon evidence gathered in an area which did not exhibit a "pure" Sinagua occupation, but a common meeting ground of three different Branches, the Sinagua, Kayenta, and the Cohonina (Colton 1946:305-6; Smith 1952:5).
Table 1. Branches and Foci referred to in this paper
||1300 - 1400
||1200 - 1300
1120 - 1200
||1070 - 1120
1120 - 1200
Rio de Flag
||700 - 900
||500 - 700
|From Colton, 1946:17)
The Northern Sinagua have had a series of foci (a term used by Colton adopted from W.C. Mckern and being roughly synonymous with H.S. Gladwin's phase; Colton 1946:14) delineated, covering an approximate time period of from A.D. 700 to A.D. 1400. Refer to Table 1. Because the Northern Sinagua Branch has been defined in a culture contact zone, the definition of these foci is based predominantly upon architecture and ceramics. Therefore a description of the evolution of Sinaguan architecture is in order. This will be taken from Colton (1946); the work which Watson Smith (1952) did in Big Hawk Valley being primarily with the Kayenta Branch and therefore not directly applicable.
Cinder Park Focus: The presence of the Sinagua Branch has been demonstrated by the dominance of Alameda Brown Ware on the sites. The earliest sites in this category, which were contemporary with Anasazi Basket Maker III, are considered to belong to the Cinder Park Focus (N.A. 3996). Although not yet satisfactorily dated directly by tree ring studies the ceramic group to which these sites belong should place them between 600 and 700 A.D. The dwellings which have been excavated were pithouses with floors about 30 in. below the original ground level and with central fire pits. Two were more or less circular, 13 and 17 ft. in diameter respectively, and the third was rectangular with rounded corners. Each had a long sloping entrance on the east side. The roof was of poles sloping towards the center of the room, and covered with earth. Dr. de laguna visualized a sort of tipi construction as there was no indication of a regular system of support posts as found in later houses. The architectural features are very different from those of houses of the better known contemporary Anasazi Lino Focus, like N.A. 1293.
Sunset Focus: The Sunset Focus was contemporary with Anasazi Pueblo I, 700 to 900 A.D. We find most commonly a moderately deep or deep timber pithouse, usually with a long sloping entrance way on the east side. Each that was completely excavated had a four post roof support, and a central fire pit. The houses considered to belong to this focus are as follows: N.A. 1531, 1653A, 1653B, 1925A, 1925B, 1926A, 1927A and 3024.
Rio de Flag focus: Several types of houses have been reported from the Rio de Flag Focus which is contemporary with the early part of Anasazi Pueblo II, 900-1070 A.D. We find most commonly a moderately deep or deep timber pithouse with four post roof support, central fire pit and with a ventilator on the eastern side, such as N.A. 860A, 860B, 860C, 1570A, 3028, and 3056. The introduction of the ventilator replaced the sloping entrance way of the preceding sunset Focus. Although a number of pure Rio de Flag sites far from the frontier were tested, they were not fully excavated, so that our information is derived from frontier sites, which makes interpretation difficult.
Another type of house found frequently on the south base of the San Francisco Peaks, we call the platform house. A timber structure of some sort was built on a platform of earth 8 to 12 in. above the ground surface (N.A. 152, 153). The shape of the platform house seems to have been the same as that of the alcove house which will be discussed later, which had an alcove or entrance on the south side. The platform houses are all located south of the Peaks on land surfaces that become very boggy in the spring. Rectangular timber granaries on the surface of the ground seem to be associated with this focus (N.A. 74).
Sugar Loaf Focus (?): There is some question about the of the six alcove houses that have been excavated: N.A. 408, 409, 1295A, 1295B, 1914B, and 2004A: and some others that appear in the archaeological survey. All those excavated lie on the frontier between the Cohonina and Sinagua Branches, and the utility sherds from all six sites are more or less divided between San Francisco Mt. Gray Ware and Alameda Brown Ware. Their decorated pottery places them in Ceramic Group 6, later than the Rio de Flag Focus as now defined, and contemporary with the early part of the Winona and Angell Foci at Winona, and thus contemporary with the later part of Anasazi Pueblo II. The Angell focus houses, however, differ by having a two post, rather than a four post, roof support, and an alcove with an entrance way. The alcove of the alcove houses Hargrave considered to be for storage rather than for an entrance, because in N.A. 408 several jars had been stored in the alcove. In the fully excavated houses, between the fire place and the ventilator, there was also present a ladder, which would have been unnecessary if the entrance was at ground level. We feel that these alcove houses may be a development out of the Rio de Flag houses, which were not affected by the Hohokam migration that influenced the Winona sites.
Following the precedent established by McGregor in the Winona Report, one could establish a new focus to include these alcove sites and which might be called the Sugar Loaf Focus (after Sugar Loaf Mountain nearby). Sites of this focus are found scattered through Medicine Valley, but non have been found in the Cohonina country nor south in the true Sinagua country. The platform houses south of the Peaks are all earlier, but of similar size and shape. We would therefore, place this focus in the Sinagua Branch, but we do it with some reservation on account of the large percentage of Cohonina sherds on all the sites so far studied. Although this focus seems to have followed the eruption of Sunset Crater, we are not altogether certain of this.
Winona Focus: In the Winona area the Rio de Flag Focus was followed after the eruption of Sunset Crater by the Winona Focus (1070 to 1100)[sic?] A.D.), which belonged to the Hohokam Root. It is clear that a number of families from central Arizona settled in the Winona area and influenced greatly the customs of the original Sinagua inhabitants. McGregor excavated six Hohokam houses (N.A. 2133A, 2133B, 2134E1, 2135B, and 3644Q-R1) which were shallow pithouses similar to those of the Salt and Gila valleys, each having a vestibule entrance, and a center ridge pole.
Angell Focus: The houses of the Winona Focus were followed by those of the Angell Focus, which were similar in general plan to the former, but differed in wall structure. In the Winona Focus the wall poles went to the floor, while in the Angell Focus, they were set on the ground level, leaving a ledge at the top of the earth wall. The earth wall was sometimes simply clayed over, but often a masonry retaining wall was built. On a purely ceramic basis it is impossible to separate the Winona and Angell Foci.
Padre Focus: A direct development of the deep timber pithouse of the Rio de Flag Focus was the masonry pithouse of the Padre Focus (1100-1120 A.D.). This house was dug deep into the ground and had a ventilator as do the houses of the Rio de Flag Focus. The roof support was a single ridge pole, supported by two posts set close to the walls, and sometimes, if the pithouse was large, by two additional center posts, a Winona and Angell Foci characteristic. In some cases the walls supported the roof directly as in the modern kiva, but with only one major beam. (See N.A. 886). The architecture of the Padre pithouse can be seen to be a combination of features: masonry from the Anasazi, depth and ventilator from the Sinagua (Rio de Flag Focus), and roof construction from the Hohokam.
Apparently the Casa Grande type of ball court was introduced into the Flagstaff area with the Hohokam migration into the Winona region about 1070 A.D. and spread as far north as the Sinagua penetrated, almost to the Citadel on the Wupatki National Monument. This type of ball court had a flat oval clay floor about 9j0 feet long and 45 feet wide, bounded by sloping walls about 8 feet high, made of earth covered by layers of clay. All eight ball courts found in this area to date, were oriented north and south. Entrance to the court was gained by a narrow sloping passage at each end of the structure. On the floor were three markers, two about ten feet from the entrance ways and one in the center. The markers were mostly small water worn cobble stones set in the floor, but in one court, N.A. 3687, the markers were wooden posts supported by masses of clay. No excavation has been undertaken to determine the exact focus with which some of the ball courts are associated, for some courts are found outside the area where the Winona Focus sites have been recognized. Their distribution is so wide that I would consider that they are associated with the Angell and Padre Foci, as well as the Winona Focus and may have persisted into the Elden Focus.
Elden Focus: Sometime between 1120 and 1130 A.D., the multi-roomed masonry pueblo was adopted by the Sinagua Branch. The pueblo took several forms: a house on level ground with no provision for defense, a house on an easily defended mesa or hilltop, cavate dwellings, or cliff pueblo. The house built on level ground often had two walls extending toward the east, on from the north end of the structure and one from the south end, suggesting wind breaks. The patio-like enclosures formed by these walls was usually open toward the east. Many pueblos with standing walls show loop holes in the outside rooms. T-shaped doorways are common but not universal. The roof construction at Wupatki, was similar to the roof construction of the Padre Focus pithouses. A single main beam, usually on the short dimension [sic!!!!!!] of the room, and supported smaller poles, which in turn carried shakes or bark. On top of this layer was usually a layer of grass covered by clay. Many Elden Focus rooms have ventilators, and some, as at Walnut Canyon, have smoke vents near the ceiling line.
It is still a question whether kivas are associated with Elden Focus pueblos. Some pueblos have masonry pithouses in just the right place in relation tot he pueblo to be kivas, but in several cases the pithouses have been proved to be earlier than the pueblos. Many Sinagua pueblos certainly have no kivas. More field work must be undertaken to settle once and for all this important point.
Turkey Hill and Clear Creek Foci: The masonry pueblo is also the house type of the Turkey Hill and Clear Creek Foci, as well as the Elden Focus. Pottery, not architecture, separates these three pueblo foci from one another. It is very probable that with more work on the later Sinagua foci, consistent differences in architecture will be demonstrated. (Colton 1946:268-273)
The second generally used criteria for defining the Northern Sinagua is that of Pottery, and particularly, Alameda Brown Ware. Alameda Brown Ware has been divided into a series of types; Rio de Flag Brown, Angell Brown, Winona Brown, Sunset Red, Turkey Hill Red, and Chavez Brown.
Rio de Flag Brown was made during a time that equates roughly with Basket Maker III (500-700 A.D.), being made of basaltic residual clays with a fine volcanic Sand as temper. With an increase in the size of temper, Angell Brown was made. This occurred at about A.D. 1000. After the eruption of Sunset Crater (about A.D. 1075), there was a change in temper, from the volcanic sand to a crushed volcanic tuff, producing the (*** refer to table from Colton, 1946:17 ***) type known as Winona Brown. At a time corresponding to the manufacture of Winona Brown, a redware, Sunset Red was being made using basaltic ash. Wino Brown apparently gave way to Chavez Brown after A.D. 1300; while Sunset Red gave way to Turkey Hill Red during the 1200's. The temper of Chavez Brown was very course. Turkey Hill Red contained a crushed volcanic tuff or water worn volcanic sand instead of the volcanic ash used in Sunset Red (Colton 1946:23-6).
The method of manufacture was paddle and anvil. Firing was accomplished with an oxidizing atmosphere, usually producing a red or brown surface (Colton 1946:23).
The types named above apply only to the Rio de Flag series of Alameda Brown Ware, found around the San Francisco Peaks (Colton 1946:23).
Discussion: The Northern Sinagua, as mentioned above, have been defined mainly in a cultural frontier area. This has led to the definition being predominantly in terms of architecture and ceramics, as other cultural features were at times difficult to distinguish from other cultures at mixed sites and were not present in statistically significant numbers (Colton 1946:309).
The architecture as described above shows a continuity in development through the eruption of Sunset Crater, or through the Rio de Flag Focus. This continuity was broken by the apparent arrival of a Hohokam group at some point in time soon after the eruption of Sunset Crater (Colton 1946:301). The Padre Focus architecture was a development incorporating ideas of all three cultures.
Ceramically, the picture is much the same. Alameda Brown Ware developed along an unbroken line until the eruption of Sunset Crater, at which time there a was a change in the temper and the introduction of Sunset Red.