Thursday, February 23, 2012

Woodland Cermaic Form and Style

Riggs, Brett H.

    In Rigg's article he discusses the work done by several archeologists on the ceramic style trends of the lower Catawba River Valley. He talks about Bernie C Keel's work at the Hardins Assemblage. Two late Mississippian period graves were discovered following a highway project which were found to contain 132 ceramic sherds. Keel considered these to represent "the earlier part of emerging Catawba ceramics," due to their similarity to seventeenth century wares from Belk Farm which is also in the historic Catawba territory.  Riggs says that these two sites demonstrate the Lamar ceramic tradition. Lamar vessels typically have complicated stamped surface treatments, folded rims, or applique rimstrips on jars, and bold incised treatments on carinated bowls. Next, Riggs discusses the mid-eighteenth-century ceramics of the Nassaw and Weyapee Assemblages. At these locations 26,000 ceramic sherds were recovered. Vessels here were found to demonstrate variation within the relatively stable Lamar tradition. The plain or burnished-plain surface treatments were thought to be the result of the influence of refugee groups. Lastly Riggs discusses the post-revolutionary war assemblages of Old Town II and New Town. Potters from these areas shifted from light buff colored wares to clay that produces folded brown hues. This was accompanied by the abandonment of fine-line brown painting in lacor of red or black accents. Small quantities of creamware and pearlware sherds indicate a growing availability of imported earthenwares. These wares were increasing influenced by colonial wares.
    Riggs article's discussion reveals two distinct successive traditions. The Lamar tradition and the Catawba colono-wares. This abrupt stylistic and technological shift between traditions is the type of disconformity that is generally accepted as de facto evidence of population replacement. Rigg's conjunctive analysis of the records indicate the direct continuity between the Nassaw and Old Town communities that makes evident the interpretation of contemporary Catawba ceramics as part of a continuum that extends to the precontact era. In 1966 Keel's suggestion that Hardins pottery represented "the earlier part of emerging Catawba Ceramics," seemed like just a well-informed guess at the time, but as Rigg's articles shows, turns out to be a strong hypothesis of the ceramic traditions of the lower Catawba River Valley.

Sabo III, George. Hilliard, Jerry E.

    Sabo and Hilliard discuss the ceramic findings at two sites in the central Arkansas Ozarks, the Dirst Site and the Ira Spradley Field site.The Arkansas Archeological Survey excavated the Dirst site along the lower Buffalo River in 1988 and 1990 when the National Park Service wanted to expanding camping facilities in the area. The majority of potter found was shell-tempered though some grog-tempered and mixed shell-and-grog-tempered pottery was also found. Of the Late Woodland sherds that were found, 73% were shell tempered. The straight or slightly everted rim sherd profiles and the presence of a few flat, disk-shaped base sherds, indicate bowls and "flower-pot" jars which likely included flat disc bases. Decoration was rare, but several punctated, cored and cord-wrapped stick impressed, line incised and brushed sherds were found. This type of pottery is often referred to as Woodward Plain and is almost identical to the grog-tempered Williams Plain that is prevalent in other parts of the Ozark Highlands during the Woodland era. The Ira Spradley Field site is in the Limestone Valley segment of the Big Piney Creek. In 1970 Thelma and Louis Gregoire discovered human interments with a variety of lithic and ceramic grave goods, primarily consisting of shell-tempered pottery. A ceramic elbow pipe as well as 25 whole and reconstructed vessels were found. All but two of these vessels were shell tempered and one had a mixture of crushed limestone and shell tempering. All vessels except for one have flat disk bases. None are decorated. Some the sherds in the Dirst site assemblage may represent this vessel form. A radiocarbon age of 1280 +/- 60 B.P. was obtained from an organic residue sample found inside on of the pots. This firmly places the Ira Spradley Field site in the Late Woodland Period.
    The Ira Spradley Field and the Dirst Site both contain shell-tempered pottery firmly dated in the Late Woodland era. There are still questions to the development of this pottery from earlier precursors and more details are needed regarding the context of its production and use. There are few leads associated with the emergence of shell-tempered pottery in the Ozarks. Its advent at the Dirst site corresponds with increasing sedentism, interation with neighbors and the possible addition of corn to the growing complex. James A Brown "forcefully deconstructed the long-standing perception of the southern Ozarks as a marginalized, culturally-laggin enclave." The assemblages that Sabo and Hilliard summarized  strongly supports this interpretation and also suggests that the populations of this region produced innovations in pottery at the same time as, if not earlier than those occurin in nearby regions.

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