FLORIDA INCISED POTTERY

Pottery is an amazing artifact.  There are many types, all with different designs or no design at all.  Designs come from the potter's imagination or his beliefs.  All have different tempers, some of grit or small pebbles, some of Spanish Moss that has burned away, leaving only a trace of its existence.  Some types are tempered with sand and some with clay; others with what some would call no temper at all, only to discover that there are small, microscopic sponge spicules that hold it together.

Think about this. Pottery is a lot like people.  Each one was fashioned by the Potter's hand, each uniquely designed from the Potter's heart.  Some were designed for daily use while others were designed for special occasions and celebration.  All were tempered, but all have a different temperament.  How has the Potter designed you and tempered you?  What was His special plan and purpose?  We are clay in His hands.  Many are like much of the pottery we find, broken and discarded by the world, but there is still hope.  Like the pot sherds that were broken and cast aside, then recovered and rounded into gaming stones to become the center of joy in an Indian's life, our broken lives can be renewed to become the center of joy in the Potter's heart.

FOR MORE DETAILED INFORMATION

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.

GEDC0101

 

 

ALEXANDER INCISED

C. B. More

RESEARCH: Gordon R. Willey named this type in (1949).[i] Hollingsworth reported this type in his research at the Sheep’s Bluff Shelter, Franklin Co, Alabama in 1991. Examples were also found by Steve Wimberly at the McVay Village site in Clarke County, Alabama.

TEMPER: This is a coiled pottery type that is tempered with fine, clean sand. Both interior and exterior surfaced are usually mouse gray with a darker gray core. The exterior surface is smoothed and may retain smoothing marks.

SURFACE DECORATION: Surface decorations consist of thin incised lines made on moist clay.  The clay had a tendency to pile up along the lines.  Designs are rectilinear and curvilinear and include a key-like design. The designs may be zoned. One or more nodes may also be placed just above a series of incised horizontal lines.

VESSEL FORM: Sherds at the McVey Village site indicate medium-sized deep bowl or an open, flaring-mouthed jar. Appendages appear from otherwise rounded simple lips.

CHRONOLOGY: Alexander pottery has been assigned to Griffin’s Late Gulf Formational stage in northwest Alabama dating between 500 and 100 BC. Associated artifacts might include Adena, Epps and Gary points.

GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION: Alexander pottery appears from the area of Carrabelle, Florida to eastern Louisiana and as far northward as the middle Tennessee River Valley and east to the Wheeler Reservoir area.

 Alexander pottery

[i] Willey, Gordon R., Archaeology of the Florida Gulf Coast, Bureau of American Ethnology Smithsonian Institution, 1949, p.360

 

ARCH CREEK INCISED

(facsimile) after Bert Mowers

RESEARCH: The type was probably named by John Goggin from his work in south Florida, but was reported by Bert Mowers in 1975.[i] The Arch Creek site is located near North Miami Beach in Dade County, Florida.

 TEMPER: In the vicinity of the Arch Creek site there is a clay deposit of considerable size that has not been classified as having a temper, but has simply been referred to as “Arch Creek paste.” The diatomaceous earth used in St. Johns ware does not seem to have been equated with this special paste. Over time, this clay source was exhausted.

SURFACE DECORATION: The design element is composed of parallel zigzag lines in groups of two that are closely spaced together.  Designs are limited to an area just below the rim.  Rims are simple and lips appear rounded.

VESSEL FORMS: Most known southern Florida vessels fall into the category of shallow bowls with rounded sides and in-curving rims.

CHRONOLOGY: Arch Creek pottery has been assigned to the Late Woodland period and continued into the Early Mississippian Glades IIb period dating between A.D. 900 and1100. Associated artifacts might include faunal and marine points and shell tools.

GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION: Arch Creek potter is fairly localized in the Miami area of south Florida.


[i] Mowers, Bert, Prehistoric Indian Pottery in South Florida, copyright Bert Mowers, 1975, p.24

 Arch CreekSE

AUCILLA INCISED

Florida Museum of Natural History

RESEARCH: Hale G. Smith (1948)[i] named this type from sites in Jefferson County, Florida.

 TEMPER: Sand or grit was the two tempers used.

SURFACE DECORATION: The incising consisted of 2 to 5 parallel lines forming chevrons or other rectilinear and curvilinear designs.  The designs sometimes formed loops.  Sometimes the incising was filled with punctations placed below the lip of the vessel.  Incised lines are made around the rim. Rims are usually incurvate with lips that are flat or rounded. Lugs along the lip have been noted.

VESSEL FORMS: Vessels were shallow bowls and casuela bowls.  The rims of the vessels were incurved with flat or rounded lips.

CHRONOLOGY: This pottery was made during the Leon and Jefferson periods of the AD 1600's. Associated artifacts might include Mississippi Triangular and Kaskaskia points.

GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION: Most often this pottery is recovered from sites in the Tallahassee area in northwestern Florida, Leon and Jefferson counties. It might also be present in the southernmost counties of southwestern Georgia.

 

[i] Smith, Hale G., Two historical archaeological periods in Florida. American Antiquity, vol. 13, No.4, pt.1, pp.313-319

 Aucilla IncisedSE

BASIN BAYOU INCISED

C. B. More

 Temper: Fine sand, some clay

Distribution: Common on the northwest coast of Florida, but also found along the west coast of Florida.

Age: Santa Rosa Swift Creek related (Willey), Middle Woodland

Vessel forms: Flattened globular bowls, long collared jars, cylindrical and squared beakers.

Decoration: Paste color often gray-buff, buff-white or red. Surface is smoothed to low polish.  Interior not well smoothed.  Incised lines made in unfired vessel. Rectilinear and curvilinear motif and combination of both on same vessel.  Lines average 2 to 3 mm. in width.  Arrangements of parallel, diagonal lines, concentric rectangles, triangles, meandering scrolls, and complex and highly stylized life figures make up the designs.  Bird designs that encompass the entire vessel have wings or other parts on each side.  Deep hemi-conical terminal punctations or pits are a feature marking the ends of junctures of lines.  Rims are nearly always set off from the area of decoration by single bordering incised line a centimeter or so below the opening. Rims are incurved with and without exterior marginal fold or thickening.  Straight or slightly out-slanted rim without marginal fold. Lip is scalloped or notched, round-flat, round-pointed, and flat. Base is round, flat and circular, and flat and square.

 Basin Bayou IncisedSE

BELLE GLADE INCISED

Florida Museum of Natural History

RESEARCH: It is difficult to tell from published material just who named this type. Gordon Willey wrote about Belle Glade Plain (1940)[i] and Jerald Milanich (1994)[ii] recounted the history of research done by John Goggin, Randolph Widmer, and William Sears in the region of Lake Okeechobee. SEAC wanted to drop this name in 1968 in favor of putting examples in “more appropriate categories, but many do not fit. Sites in the Lake Okeechobee region dating between 500 BC and 1513 AD have contained Glades pottery including Tony’s Mound, the Belle Glade site, Lake Kissimmee, Big Mound City and Fort Center.

TEMPER: Sand was used to temper this central Florida type.

SURFACE DECORATION: Milanich described decorated Glades ware as having a series of curvilinear and rectilinear designs used in conjunction with small punctations. Designs seem to be limited to an area along the rim of the vessel. The illustrated examples of Belle Glade Incised ware were provided by the Florida Museum of Natural History.

VESSEL FORMS: Vessels were large, simple bowls with incurving rims and flat lips.  Vessels from the Manatee region have more rounded lips.

CHRONOLOGY: Willey notes that Belle Glade pottery appears in Glades I period, but is more common in Glades II and III periods. Associated points may include Bone and Shark Teeth and Woodland Triangular points.

 GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION: Sites containing Belle Glades pottery have been identified from east Polk County to Lake Kissimmee and south to Palm Beach County, Florida.


[i] Willey, Gordon R., Archaeology of the Florida Gulf Coast, Bureau of American Ethnology Smithsonian Institution, 1949, p.365

[ii] Milanich, Jerald T., Archaeology of Precolumbian Florida. University Press of Florida, pp.300

 Belle GladeSE

CAIN PATCH INCISED

Florida Museum of Natural History

RESEARCH: This type was probably named by John Goggin during his survey of southern Florida. Bert Mowers later reported on the type in 1975.[i] Examples were taken from sites within the Glades region of southern Florida.

TEMPER: Sand was used for temper in this and most pottery types in southern Florida.

SURFACE DECORATION: The only known design pattern is that of diagonally incised lines made at about a 60 degrees downward from the lip in opposing directions to form diamond designs between one and two inches in length. The remaining body is plain.

VESSEL FORMS: Most Glades vessels are bowls with in-curving walls and rims.

CHRONOLOGY: This pottery dates to the Glades I late period dating from A.D. 500 to 750. Associated points might include Bone points, Shark’s Teeth, Gar Scale points and Sting Ray Barb points.

GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTION: Cane Patch Incised pottery was recovered only from the Caloosahatchee and eastern Glades region of southern Florida.


[i] Mowers, Bert, Prehistoric Indian Pottery in South Florida, copyright Bert Mowers, 1975, p.39

 Cane Patch Incised

CARRABELLE INCISED

Gordon R Willey (1949)

Temper: find say and

Distribution: Florida golf Coast

Age: Weeden Island related (Willey), Late Woodland

Vessel forms: flattened-globular bowls, collard globular bowls, simple and collard jars, beakers. Rims are in-curving, direct, and out slanting. Exterior folds. When not folded, rims may be slightly thickened.

Decoration: medium and fine incised lines on soft, unfired surfaces. Parallel incised lines placed vertically or diagonally on vessel. Arrangement in simple rows, herringbone fashion, or nested triangles. There is a variation of the latter where alternate triangles are filled with horizontally placed lines. Decoration is often set off, above and below, by incised lines. Decoration is usually confined to a band beneath the rim on the upper one third of the vessel. Sometimes on beaker forms, decoration extends from the rim to the base.

 Carrabelle

 

CRYSTAL RIVER INCISED

Florida Museum of Natural History

 Temper: Fine sand and mica

Distribution: Known from Franklin to Citrus Counties along the Gulf Coast of Florida

Age: Santa Rosa Swift Creek related (Willie), Middle Woodland

Vessel forms: Flattened globular bowls, cylindrical beakers, double-globed vessels, collared jars, composite-silhouette jars, Rims are unmodified or have a fold or slight flange.

Decoration: Deep, medium-wide incised lines and large, round-dot punctations.  Incision sometimes displays "fractured" edges showing lines were made after drying.  Designs were a combination lobate forms and circles, rectilinear to lobate or circular elements and pendant loops.  These elements are often filled with fields of large dot punctations.  The various elements are combined into complicated designs.  These may or may not be highly conventionalized life forms.  Some pieces show obvious naturalism, including a hand design, human face, bird, etc.

 Crystal River potSE

DADE INCISED

Florida Museum of Natural History

RESEARCH: Bert Mowers reported this type in 1975.[i] Mowers’ report centered reflected the research of John Goggin in the Middle to Late Woodland sites within the Glades region.

TEMPER: Sand was used to temper this pottery.

SURFACE DECORATION: Decoration consisted of an incised pattern of arches with openings upwards , continuous around the vessel below the lip (right).  A variant to this was two straight lines in opposing diagonal groups around the rim with a cat-whisker effect (left).  Arcs may also be in groups of 2 to 4, instead of single lines.  These are similar in some respects to the Key Largo and Opa Locka designs.

VESSEL FORMS: Most Glades vessels are bowls with in-curving walls and rims.

CHRONOLOGY: Dade Incised pottery belongs to the Middle to Late Woodland, Glades IIa period (A.D. 750 - 900). Associated point types might include bone points, shark teeth, Gar Scale points, and sting ray barb points.

GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTION: This type seems to have been confined to the Glades region of south Florida.

 


[i] Mowers, Bert, Prehistoric Indian Pottery in South Florida, copyright Bert Mowers, 1975, p.23

 

ENGLEWOOD INCISED


Name: Named and described by Gordon Willey from the Englewood site, Sarasota County, Florida

Temper: Fine sand. Paste is buff, gray or black

Distribution: Known only from Sarasota County and the surrounding area

Age: Englewood related (Willey), Caloosahatchee III, A.D. 1200 - 1350 (Milanich)

Vessel forms: Cylindrical beakers, short-collared jars, simple jars, deep bowls or beaker-bowls, open bowls

Decoration: Usually rectilinear designs but with simple curvilinear elements sometimes combined.  Interlocking rectilinear elements in which incised bands are alternately filled with teardrop-shaped punctations.  Continuous crisscross or diamond elements in which band zones are left plain and background filled with teardrop or dot punctations.  Zigzag incised bands or connected chevrons in which background is filled with punctations and chevrons are left plain.  Rectangular panels with diagonal incised bands and backgrounds filled with punctations.  Continous curvilinear plain bands arranged S-fashion with punctated backgrounds.  Vertical and diagonal bands alternately filled with punctations. Designs cover either upper shoulder or most of exterior walls.  Plain band at rim usually set off from decoration by one or more horizontal incised lines.

 

FORT DRUM INCISED


(facsimile)

Temper: Sand

Distribution: The greatest concentration of Fort Drum sherds came from Goggins Snapper Creek site and many other sites in Broward County, Florida.

Age: Glades I late, A.D. 500 - 750

Vessel forms: Most Glades vessels are bowls with incurving walls and rims.

Decoration: Vertical or diagonal ticking on lip or rim. A continious row of diagonal or vertical small lines below the rim, occasionally up to the lip.  Rim ticking is typically a row of cuts on the top of flattened lip, very variable in shape and direction. "Punctated" is usually one or two rows of holes or dents around the pot below he lip.  A special kind of punctate is the "jab-and-drag" type, which is a row of holes with a sort of line connecting them, made by dragging the gabbing too..

 Fort Drum pottery distSE

FORT DRUM RIM TICKED


RESEARCH: John Goggin named this type at the Snapper Creek site near Miami, Florida and Bert Mowers discussed it in 1975.[i]

 TEMPER: Sand was used in tempering this pottery.

 SURFACE DECORATION: Rim ticking consists of short incised lines across a flat rim lip.

VESSEL FORMS: Most Glades region vessels were bowls with in-curving walls and rims

CHRONOLOGY: The Fort Drum types are an Early Woodland, Glades I period pottery dating to between 400 B.C. and A.D. 400. Associated points might include Bone points, Shark Teeth, Gar Scale and Sting Ray Barb points.

GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTION: The distribution of this type is centered in the Miami and Broward County area of southern Florida.


[i] Mowers, Bert, Prehistoric Indian Pottery in South Florida, copyright Bert Mowers, 1975, p.21

 Fort Drum pottery distSE

FORT WALTON INCISED


 

Temper: fine sand

Distribution: Northwest coast of Florida with inland extension for at least 100 miles. Distribution unrecorded along Alabama coast and interior Alabama but probably occurs in these areas.

Age: Fort Walton related (Willey), Middle Mississippian

Vessel forms: Shallow bowls with lateral expansions, casuela bowls, colored globular bowls, short collared jars, beaker-bowls, bottles, gourd-effigy forms, flattened-globular bowls with effigies of fixed.Rams are in slanting or in curbing depending on vessel form. Most rims thickened except for a preceptable thinning at the lip edge. Long, thin folds are common. These are usually underlined within incised line. Lips are rounded-pointed. Closely spaced notches are placed diagonally on the exterior margin of the lip. Bases are rounded. Appended Jesus are lateral or horizontal rim projections. Bird head and tail effigies placed on opposing sides of the rim. Small vertical logs, usually for to a vessel, placed just below the lip or exterior. These logs may be flush with lip or may project above it.

Decoration: lines and punctuations incised into the soft surface of vessel. Lines are deep, wide, and usually rectangular in cross-section. Large round, or square punctuations most common. hollow read punctuation sometimes used. Elements of design are bullets, interlocked scrolls, running scrolls, circles, trifoil figures, concentric forms, S-shaped and reverse-S figures, rectilinear stepped figures, pendant loops, and triangles. Elements are usually repeated around the vessel in a connected design pattern. punctations used as filler for both background and for design proper. Incised lines sometimes used as filler. Designs appear around the upper part of the bowl, as a rule, and on vessel exterior. Interior decoration occurs on upper surfaces of the rim appendages or projections to large open bowls.

 

GOGGIN INCISED


Temper: Shell

Distribution: Suwannee valley region mission sites

Age: Historic, A.D. 1600-1650 Spanish mission period

Vessel forms: Jars with restricted necks, flaring rims and well-defined shoulders indicative of Mississippian jar forms.

Decoration:Incised decoration is restricted to the neck area of the jar.  Incising is in the form of parallel lines that are diagonal to the lip of the vessel, normally running from the lower left to upper right.  Lines are generally in pairs situated 4 to 16 mm. (average 10 mm.). Lines are from 1-2 mm. wide and are burred on the edges (indicating lines made in wet clay).  Vessels with both neck and shoulders also have a row of large ovoid punctations along the break in profile at the shoulders.  These punctations are 4-5 mm. in size and are spaced 6-8 mm. apart.  Rims are unknown, but may resemble Goggin plain rims.

 

GORDON PASS INCISED

 

RESEARCH: Bert Mowers discussed this type very little in 1975.[i] It was probably named by John Griffin along with other south Florida pottery types. No specific sites were named by Mowers, but its association with other types suggests a Glades region distribution.

TEMPER: Sand was used as temper in this type.

SURFACE DECORATION: Decoration consists of incised diagonal lines below the rim with ticking along one side of the incised lines.  Incised lines may be singular in groups or have branching lines from them also with ticking.

VESSEL FORMS: Most Glades vessels were bowls with incurving walls and rims.

CHRONOLOGY: This type dates to the Early to Middle Woodland, Glades I period (400 B.C. to A.D. 400). This type might be found with faunal and marine points and shell tools.

 GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTION: This type seems to be within the Glades region of south Florida.


[i] Mowers, Bert, Prehistoric Indian Pottery in South Florida, copyright Bert Mowers, 1975, p.45