It is our hope that the pictures and descriptions in this section will assist you in discovering the identity of your pottery sherds and the history behind them.  If you are unable to identify your finds from this list, please feel free to contact me (Lloyd Schroder - see CONTACT US) with pictures of your discoveries and information regarding their general location.  The pictures should include a clear picture of surface decoration, rim structure (if possible), the interior of the vessel, and a cross-section of the sherd.  I will make every effort to respond as quickly as possible to your requests.


For more detailed information on these and other pottery types within the Southeastern United States, please see our "Publications" page to order Lloyd Schroder's Field Guide to Southeastern Indian Pottery.





RESEARCH: The type was named by Gordon R. Willey (1949)[i]. Willey and Woodbury (1942) included this type with Marksville Stamped pottery that is very similar in appearance.

SITE & LOCATION: Willey noted that this type was most commonly found in northwestern Florida.Steve B. Wimberly also recovered examples of Alligator Bayou Stamped pottery from sites along the Tombigbee River in Clarke and Mobile counties, Alabama.


TEMPER: Ground Clay or ground sherd tempering gives a soft, chalky texture to the surface. Some specimens were tempered with fine to medium sand. Paste texture varies from course, lumpy, and very contorted to fine-grained and slightly contorted. Paste color varies from chalky white, buff and read-buff to gray-black.

SURFACE DECORATION: Decoration consisted of broad incisions made in the semi-soft clay of the vessel before firing and areas of notched or rocker or roulette stamping. Designs consisted of opposed plane and rocker-stamped areas. Incised figures are more often undefined curvilinear and rectilinear figures. In some cases the actual design or figure represented is left plain while the background is filled with stamping. Some designs were also filled in with stamping and the background was left plain. This stamping, if done with a rocker, may be the result of rocking the edge of a thin instrument back and forth on the vessel surface. The zigzag lines may be smooth or dentate. This same effect could have been produced by a small or notched-edge disc. The general impression is one of boldly but surely executed designs. There is little detail. All figures are expressed by wide, flowing bands. Designs cover most of the exterior vessel body except the base.

VESSEL FORMS: Known forms are flattened-globular bowls, squared flattened-globular bowls, collard globular bowls, cylindrical beakers, squared beakers, and multiple-orifice vessels. In-curved rims with exterior folds or with marginal thickening on direct, unmodified, out-slanting rims are known. Lips are flat, rounded-flat, or round-pointed in form. Bases may be round, flat and circular, or flat and squared. Appendages of bird head effigies were affixed to the rims.

CHRONOLOGY: Alligator Bayou Stamped pottery is a marker of the Middle Woodland Santa Rosa-Swift Creek period. Vessels are occasionally found in mounds which demonstrate the dominance of Weeden Island period types.

GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION: The type is most common in northwest Florida, but it is also found in village sites and burial mounds as far south and east as Tarpon Springs and Tampa Bay. Distribution also extends into southwestern Alabama.

[i] Willey, Gordon R., Archaeology of the Florida Gulf Coast, Bureau of American Ethnology Smithsonian Institution, 1949, p.372




Research: Steve B. Wimberly

Site & location: The lower levels of the Bayou La Batre Shell Midden, Mobile County, Alabama

Temper: Moderate amounts of medium-coarse sand, often with granule gravel additions represented by particles 3-4mm in diameter.  Sherds with fine sand are rare as also are those containing lumps of clay together with fine sand as tempering material.

Surface decoration: Individual parallel impressions of the crenated edge of a scallop shell were impressed on the exterior surface of the vessel by rocking, but not walking, the edge of the scallop shell.  Usually an over-all design of parallel impressions is indicated.  In a few cases 2 or 4 parallel impressions were used, either to encircle the vessel just below the lip or to form vertical or oblique longitudinal bands of decoration.  In general, decoration extends from the lip to the base and may cover the base.

Vessel form: Deep truncate-conoidal open bowls with a small base platform.

Distribution: The Mobile Bay region and Clarke County, Alabama

Chronology: Early Woodland period, surviving into the Middle Woodland period as suggested at the Porter Village site.





Research: Steve B. Wimberly

Site & location: The lower levels of the Bayou La Batre Shell Midden, Mobile County, Alabama

Temper: Moderate amounts of medium-coarse sand, often with granule gravel additions represented by particles 3-4mm in diameter.  Sherds with fine sand are rare as also are those containing lumps of clay together with fine sand as tempering material.  About half of the recovered sherds are fired completely through resulting in a buff to dull orange exterior.  Those sherds not completely fired have dark gray cores.  Fire clouding of the exterior surface is common.

Surface decoration: Some surfaces were floated, bringing finer particles to the surface, but tempering particles nevertheless extrude to give a characteristic granular surface.  Interior surfaces show horizontal smoothing lines.  Horizontal, or less often vertical bands of stamping were impressed on the exterior surface of the vessel by rocking, or more often by dragging and punching the crenated edge of a scallop shell over the vessel surface.  Usually the shell stamping implement was impressed at close intervals that left rectanguloid or crescent-shaped indentations.  Bands of stamping vary in width from 2 to 4 cm and are separated by plain, undecorated strips 1 to 1.5 cm wide, or occasionally overlapping.  Occasionally there may be only one stamped band around the vessel rim.  In vessels with podal supports, the supports were decorated with stamping of the outside, ridged body of the shell, giving a grooved, simple-stamped impression about 1 to 2 cm up the vessel wall.  Decoration usually began just short of the lip and covers the entire vessel except where podal supports are left undecorated.

Vessel form: No complete vessels are known.  Sherds suggest medium-small to medium-large deep truncate-conoidal open bowls and perhaps a hemispherical bowl form.  Vessels have annular-type (ring-shaped) or flat circular bases.  A late variety of this type might be suggested by two rim sherds from the McVay Villager and the Copeland Bayou Shell Midden, each from a jar form that had a definite rounded shoulder and a vertical recurved rim which is not thinned toward the lip.

Distribution: The Mobile Bay region and up the Mobile and Tombigbee rivers into Clarke County, Alabama.

Chronology: Early Woodland period along with Tchefuncte pottery types.  Its occurrence at the McQuorquodale Mound suggests a time position between Early and Middle Woodland.  Its survival well into the Middle Woodland period is suggested by its appreciable numbers in both Porter and McVey village sites.






RESEARCH: Gordon R. Willey named this type in 1949.[i]

SITE & LOCATION: Willey’s research was from sites along the northwestern Florida coast.

TEMPER: Fine Sand containing mica was used for temper. The Surfaces are usually buff with fire-clouding.  Occasionally the surfaces appear entirely gray to black.  Interiors are smooth to nearly polished.

SURFACE DECORATION: The design is made of rectilinear zigzag lines or chevrons.  These chevrons are continuous down the sides or around the body of the vessel.  They are very close-spaced.  The design differs from a "herringbone" motif in that there are no lines connecting the angles of the nested chevrons.  Angle of chevrons varies from slightly acute to very obtuse.  Overlapping of the design is fairly common.

VESSEL FORMS: Known forms are pots with slightly an out-flared orifice.  Rims are slightly out-flaring and lips are scalloped or notched.

[i] Willey, Gordon R. and Philip Phillips. Negative Painted Pottery from Crystal River, Florida. American Antiquity 10 (2):173-383.




Research: Defined by Phillips Ford and Gordon Willey as a Marksville complex

Site & location: Crooks site

Temper: Clay particles

Surface decoration: Same as Alligator Bayou Stamped (but with clay temper rather than sand temper).  Shallow incised lines.  Outlines are flowing designs in both rectilinear and curvilinear lines.  Alternate areas between incised lines are filled with stamped scallop shell impressions made with the crenated edge of the shell and applied transversely in 2-5 mm. intervals.  Stamping was not walked or scraped as with Bayou La Batre Stamped.  Decoration applied over most of the vessel surface.

Vessel form: Medium sized jars with direct, straight rims.  Rims are thickened with flat lips.  Bowl forms have slightly constricted rims that have a psudo-rim decorated with transversely applied scallop-shell stamping.  Lips are rounded or flattened.

Chronology: Early to Middle Woodland from Tchefuncte to Marksville periods.

Distribution: Southern and central Louisiana and southwestern Alabama.



RESEARCH: Steve B. Wimberly reported on this type in 1960.[i] Wimberly’s report on this type was from sites in Clarke County, Alabama.

TEMPER: Fine sand and a mixture of clay particles, usually lighter in color than the surrounding paste, were used as temper. The paste core is gray and the exterior is buff.

SURFACE DECORATION: The designs were sweeping, curvilinear alternating bands extending from just below the rim line to just above the basal portion of the vessel. Alternate bands were stamped, leaving alternate and contrasting bands unstamped. The primary design lines are moderately deep and U-shaped in cross section. Stamping was done by rocking or walking, sometimes with dragging steps, the tool down the decorated band. An incised line around the rim of the vessel set off the rim from the decorated portion of the vessel. Bands, both decorated and plain, measure between 8mm and 2cm in width. Two or more parallel rows of stamping can appear in a zoned area. Concentric circles or triangles or a single stamped band just below the lip are known. Some plain circles or ovals, some with a central dot, outlined with an incised line exist. Sometimes the rim is separated from the decorated area by several incised lines around the vessel.

VESSEL FORMS: Sherds suggest medium sized jars with in-slanting rims to globular bowls, flattened globular bowls. Rims are direct except jar rims, which are vertical to in-slanting. Hemispherical bowls have a pseudo-rim line with an interior thickening. Bases may be flat and circular.

CHRONOLOGY: This type belongs to the Middle Woodland period.

GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTION: Distribution for this type is from Mobile Bay to Clark County, across Louisiana, eastern Mississippi and most of Arkansas.

[i] Wimberly, Steve B. Indian Pottery From Clarke County and Mobile County, Southern Alabama, University of Alabama, pp.111-113





Research: Hollingsworth, Alabama Journal of Archaeology, Vol. 37, 1991

Site & location: Sheep’s Bluff Shelter, Franklin Co, Alabama

Temper: Limestone

Surface decoration: Concentric lines around an unidentifiable central element and other curvilinear designs similar to Swift Creek Complicated Stamped designs, but on limestone-tempered paste.

Vessel form: Rims are flattened,

Chronology: AD 150-500 Middle Woodland marker (Wheeler fiber was Late Archaic to Early Woodland) Copena culture of northern Alabama

Distribution: Middle Tennessee River valley and eastern Alabama








Temper: Ground clay or sherd temper, in Alabama this pottery is tempered with medium-coarse sand occasionally with granule gravel additions (S. Wimberly, 1960).

Distribution: Northwest Golf Coast to the western edge of the Central Golf Coast and the Mobile Bay region of Alabama

Age: Middle Woodland, Santa Rosa-Swift Creek period, but is considered transitional from the Early Woodland period in the Mobile Bay region of Alabama as it was recovered with Tchefuncte Stamped pottery at the Gayou La Batre Shell Midden site there.

Vessel forms: Rims are out-flared or straight with lips that are scalloped or notched.  Vessels have straight sides with rounded bottoms.  Sherds from the Bayou La Batre Shell Midden site indicate medium-sized globular bowls with orifices only slightly constricted orifices of 12 to 15 cm in diameters and bodies of 18 to 20 cm in diameter.  Rims are direct and follow the gradual inward curve of the upper body wall.  Lips are flattened to round-flattened.

Decoration: Shell rocker stamping.  Alabama examples are covered with stamping in rows of zig-zag stamping that ran parallel to each other and usually, but not always, overlapping slightly.  Rows of stamping run vertically in most cases.  When rows of stamping do not overlap, they are usually spaced about as far apart as each row of stamping is wide (1 to 2.5 cm) with undecorated sections of the same width between them.  Stamping made by small scallop shell.  Stamping usually extends to the lip.





Temper: Fine sand and mica. Surface is well smoothed, even to a low polish on interiors.  Orange-buff throughout or gray-black core with one or both surfaces fired.

Distribution: Northwestern Florida coast between Choctawhatchee Bay and St. Andrews Bay for which it is named.

Age: Middle Woodland Santa Rosa-Swift Creek period

Vessel forms: Straight-sided vessels with straight or slightly out-flaring rims.  Lips are scalloped or notched.  Bases are rounded

Decoration: Rectilinear complicated stamping over the entire body of the vessel. Designs include line block, hatched rectangles, diagonally bisected rectangles with each triangular half filled with hachure, and concentric rectangles or triangles.





Temper: Fine sand, mica or small grit

Distribution: Northwest and north-central Florida and related complicated stamping as far south as Tampa Bay

Age: Middle Woodland, Santa Rosa Swift Creek period

Vessel forms: Globular jar with slightly out-flared rim and rounded base.  Early forms may have a tetrapodal base.  Rims are straight and vertical or slightly out-slanted or out-curved at the opening.  Occasionally slight thickening on the exterior edge. Lips are small, close-spaced, round-bottomed notches.  Appendages are small, solid tetrapodal supports.

Decoration: Designs are applied with a paddle, curved rocker, or cylindrical instrument. Designs are predominately curvilinear, although rectilinear elements are sometimes combined with curvilinear ones.  Designs have a number of elements resulting in a complex whole.  Many designs are highly stylized natural figures including insects, reptiles, flowers and stellar formations.  It seems that each extended family may have had its own design variation.







Research: Dr Douglas Jones

Site & location: Davison Creek Site, Monroe County near Natchez

Temper: Fine and course sand, but more coarse than Early Swift Creek



Vessel forms: Long and short collared jars and simple jars.  Flattened-globular bowls and collared globular bowls also occur as do some pot forms.  Rims are in-curved, and out-curved and recurved.  Also in-slanted and out-slanted.  Exterior folded or thickened rims.  Rim folds vary from a few mm. to 2 cm. in width.

Decoration: Complicated, predominantly curvilinear designs, but may also be "ladder" designs with check stamped or simple stamping within parallel lines that usually run vertically along the vessel exterior.    Decoration may or may not have a collar or small area of undecorated space below the rim, but will always be limited to the upper portion of the vessel.  In many respects, decoration is very close to the designs of the Early Variety of the type, but less intricate.  Common are "snow shoe," hatched tear drop, concentric spirals, concentric circles as part of a greater design, interlocking scrolls and rectilinear elements (sometimes called "ladder" designs), intertwined meander, simple concentric curved lines.  Execution is more bold and carelessly done than Early Variety. The results in either deeper impressions or may be hastily applied.

Chronology: Middle Woodland Weeden Island (AD 200-900)

Distribution: Southern and eastern Alabama, all of Georgia, South Carolina, eastern Tennessee, northern and northwestern Florida






Research: Steven Wimberly (1960)

Site & location: Bayou La Batre Shell Midden site, Mobile Bay region, Mobile County, Alabama

Temper: Clay with only slight amounts of sand

Surface decoration: Stamped in the same manner as Santa Rosa Swift Creek rocker stamping except that the stamping runs horizontally and scallop shells were not used as a stamp.

Vessel form: Same as Bayou La Batre Stamped; deep conoidal bowls with small bases, often with podal supports.  Some small hemispherical bowls with straight sides do appear.

Chronology: Early Woodland period

Distribution: Southeastern Alabama





Research: J.A. Ford (1951)

Site & location: Greenhouse site, Louisiana, sites in Clarke County, Alabama

Temper: Clay, gray exterior with chalky textured surface

Surface decoration: Stamped with plain rather than dentate tool.  Designs are flowing curvilinear bands of alternate plain and stamped areas.

Vessel form: Globular bowls with pseudo rim that is thickened with rounded lip.

Chronology: Middle Woodland

Distribution: Louisiana, Mississippi, and southeastern Alabama