NORTH CAROLINA BRUSHED 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

 

CARAWAY BRUSHED

 Caraway Brushed

Caraway pottery from the Doerschuk site, Coe (left) Yadkin Valley (right)

RESEARCH: Joffre Coe reported the Caraway pottery type at the Doerschuk site in Formative Cultures of the Carolina Piedmont in 1964.

TEMPER: Caraway pottery was tempered with very fine sand and the paste was compact and hard. Coe considered this the best made aboriginal pottery in the area, even having a distinctive ring sound to it, even when broken.

SURFACE DECORACTION: The surface appears to have been brushed with fine twigs or brush that left a stroke in the clay similar to that of Flint River Brushed pottery. The rim was everted or simple and might be decorated with incised chevrons with rounded, serrated or flattened lips.

VESSEL FORM: No complete vessels are known to have been recovered.

CHRONOLOGY: The Caraway pottery at the Doerschuk site belonged to the Historic period and dated to AD 1700. The decorated sherds date to the earlier portion of this period while the smoothed and burnished sherds date to the later portion.

GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTION: Caraway pottery has been recovered from Late Woodland and Historic sites within the Southern Piedmont region of North Carolina.

 

Caraway

CONNESTEE BRUSHED

 Conestee Brushed Garden Creek

Bennie Keel 1976 Pl.45

RESEARCH: Bennie Keel defined this type as an annular or segmented coil pottery that was built on a conical, disc, or tabular base. Keel’s description of this type was based on his research in sites in western North Carolina.

TEMPER: Connestee Brushed pottery was tempered with fine to medium sand with small amounts of crushed quartz occasionally mixed in. The sand often contained mica naturally, but it was not purposefully mixed in. The surface was smooth, but sandy to the touch with a light tan to dark brown exterior, with darker colors being more predominant.

 

SURFACE DECORATION: Brushing was done with twigs or a sinew-wrapped paddle. Brush strokes were predominantly parallel to the rim, but were also found vertical or diagonal to the rim. Brush strokes are unevenly spaced and measured between .2 and 1.5mm wide. The vessel was then finished by hand smoothing. A plain band was sometimes present between the rim and shoulder of the vessel, rarely with a circuit of round or rectangular punctations along the shoulder of the vessel. Uniformly narrow curvilinear and rectilinear incised designs also infrequently accompanied brushing.

 

VESSEL FORM: Vessel forms included conoidal jars, hemispherical bowls and flat-based jars with podal supports. Lips were rounded, flattened or chamfered. These were notched, brushed or punctated. Rims were most often flaring, but were also straight, vertical or incurved.

 

CHRONOLOGY: A number of radiocarbon dates from various sites have been associated with Connestee pottery that range from Middle to Late Woodland periods. From Russell Cave, Alabama, the type dated to A.D. 740+/- 100. In Tennessee the type dated to A.D. 605+/-90 at Icehouse Bottom. In Georgia at Tunacunnhee it dated to A.D. 150; at Manderville to A.D. 530+/-150. In North Carolina at the Garden Creek Mound No.2 site it dated to A.D. 805+/-85. Keel concluded that Connestee pottery disappeared between A.D 600 to 650.

GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION: Connestee pottery has been found in western North Carolina, western South Carolina, eastern Tennessee, and northwestern Georgia, and northeastern Alabama.

 

 

Connestee SE

DEPTFORD BRUSHED

  deptford brushed DeptfordBrushedLeonC

Cook 2010 Fig.14 C

RESEARCH: The type was not formally named, but the term has been in use by archaeologists working along coastal and southern Georgia to describe a brushed type that repeatedly occurs in Deptford sites. The type has assumed the name of the context in which it occasionally appears.

 

TEMPER: Sand is more often used for temper in Florida and southern Georgia while grit was used elsewhere.

SURFACE DECORATION: The entire surface of the vessel is covered with fine brush marking. Brush strokes seem to at least be horizontal. Alternate stroke angles are unknown.

VESSEL FORMS: Deptford pottery is usually deep, straight-sided jars with rounded or flattened rims.  Vessels often have short, stamped tetropodal legs.

 

CHRONOLOGY: Deptford pottery is part of the Middle Woodland period.

GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTION: Deptford pottery is found over a wide range from the South Carolina Coast across Georgia and parts of eastern Tennessee and eastern Alabama and northern Florida as far south as the Tampa Bay area. The brushed type might appear in any one of these sites.

 

Deptford pot dist SE

ETOWAH BRUSHED

 etowah brushed wp 001 

(Left) Author’s collection, (Right) Private collection, Jackson County, Alabama

RESEARCH: This type was defined by William Sears in 1958.  This type is known from the Etowah Mound complex located on the Etowah River in northwestern Georgia, but was spread over most of Georgia and surrounding areas by the Etowah people.

 

TEMPER: This is a grit-tempered pottery type.

 

SURFACE DECORATION: Fine brush strokes cover the entire surface of the vessel. Recovered sherds of this type have not been sufficient to determine the direction of the strokes with any certainty.

 

VESSEL FORMS: Known Etowah vessel forms include wide-mouth conoidal jars, globular jars, bowls, and cylindrical vases. Rims were flared, vertical, out-curved, or in-sloping.

 

CHRONOLOGY: The Etowah type belongs to the Middle Mississippian, Etowah period.

GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTION: This type originated at the Etowah site in northwestern Georgia but was spread in small quantities by the Etowah people throughout Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and probably western North and South Carolina.

 Sears, William, The Wilbanks Site (9CK-5), Georgia. Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 169:129-194. Washington, D.C. 1958

Etowah dist SE

HAW RIVER BRUSHED

 haw river net impressed

Haw River brushed from the Holt site, Ward and Davis

RESEARCH: H. Trawick Ward and R.P. Steven Davis Jr. published their report on this type entitled Indian Communities on the North Carolina Piedmont, AD 1000 to 1700 (Research Laboratories of Anthropology, University of North Carolina, 1993).

 

TEMPER: At the Guthrie site, Ward and Davis reported that just over 40 percent of the sherds of this type were tempered with crushed feldspar. The remaining sherds were tempered with medium to fine crushed quartz or coarse sand. At the Holt site, only two sherds contained crushed quartz; the remainder had coarse sand.

 

SURFACE TREATMENT: The exterior surface had been brushed or scraped with a twig brish or other rough-edged tool. Most of the Net Impressed sherds had been scraped and these sherd examples may have come from similar scraped examples.   Additional decoration included v-notching of the lip edge or neck, oblique incisions placed along the lip edge, finger punctations around the vessel neck, and parallel incisions placed along the vessel neck.

 

VESSEL FORM: These vessels are most often large conical jars with straight or slightly everted rims and rounded lips.  

CHRONOLOGY: This type is part of the Late Woodland period dating between 1000 and 1300 AD. This type can be found with Woodland Triangular points.

 

GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTION: Haw River pottery appears in Late Woodland period sites within the Central Piedmont region of North Carolina.

 

Haw River pottery

JENRETTE BRUSHED

 JenrettePlainMitchumsite

Jenrette Cob Impressed from the Jenrette site

RESEARCH: Trawick H. Ward and Stephen Davis Jr. reported on this type from the Jenrette site in an article entitled Indian Communities on the North Carolina Piedmont, AD 1000 to 1700 in a Monograph of the Research Laboratory of Anthropology at the University of North Carolina.

 

TEMPER: Jenrette pottery is most often tempered with finely crushed quartz. At the Mitchum site, sherds were tempered with course to fine crushed feldspar and sand.

 

SURFACE TREATMENT: The surfaces of this type are stamped or rolled with a maze cob. The interior surfaces of most sherds was smoothed. Decorations were limited to lip notching. Other decoration included incising below the vessel shoulder, rectangular punctations along the vessel neck, and node appliqué.

 

VESSEL FORM: These vessels are similar to the Hillsboro pottery before them, except that the Jenrette pottery is generally much heavier with thicker walls. Over 81 percent of the examined sherds at the Mitchum site were 6 to 8mm thick. Vessel forms included small to medium (12cm to 24cm) jars with simple folded rims, and jars or bowls with straight rims. Lips were mostly rounded or flattened. One single strap handle is known from the Mitchum site.

 

CHRONOLOGY: Made by the Sharkori Indians, Jenrette is a Historic pottery type dating between 1600 and 1680.

 

GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTION: Jenrette pottery appears in the Historic period villages within the Central Piedmont region of North Carolina.

 

Jenrette pottery

OLDTOWN BRUSHED

 OldtownBrushedLowerSaratown

Oldtown Brushed pottery from the Lower Saratown site

RESEARCH: Jack H. Wilson published his findings on this type in his dissertation entitled A Study of Late Prehistoric, Protohistoric and Historic Indians of the Carolina and Virginia Piedmont: Structure, Process and Ecology (Department of Anthropology, University of North Carolina, 1983).

TEMPER: This is a well-made ware with a fine sand-tempered paste and smooth interiors. At the Lower Saratown site, many examples were tempered with finely crushed quartz or fieldspar.

 

SURFACE TREATMENT: Of the 102 potsherds that fell into this classification, most were recovered from the middle Saratown phase and were scraped with either a stiff-twigged brush or some other irregular edged tool. In many instances it became difficult to separate brushed pottery from poorly finished plain pottery. One sherd had been painted with red pigment. Other decorations included on these surfaces were finger pinching, stick punctation and rim notching similar to Dan River pottery. Newly used decorations included rim castellations, lip burnishing and the application of filleted strips.

VESSEL FORM: Vessel forms included bowls and jars. More than half of the bowls recovered by Wilson displayed carinated or cazuela-type rims. At the Saratown site, vessel rims were everted and lips were notched.

CHRONOLOGY: This is a Late Woodland to Contact period pottery that dates between 1500 and 1700 AD.

GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTION: Oldtown pottery appears in the Late Woodland and Contact period sites of the North Central Piedmont region of North Carolina.  

Oldtown pottery NC

PIGEON BRUSHED

 PigeonBrushed

Keel 1976 Pl.

RESEARCH: Bennie C. Keel named and defined this type in 1976 Keel’s research of this type was conducted in Cherokee related sites in North and South Carolina, eastern Tennessee and northwestern Georgia; however this type was only present from the Garden Creek Mound No. 2 site. The type was probably named after the Pigeon River that runs from eastern into western North Carolina in the vicinity of Keel’s research.

 

TEMPER: Medium to coarse crushed quartz was used as temper in this type. Exterior sherd colors range from light brown, light to dark gray, to red or orange. The lighter colors are more common.

 

SURFACE DECORATION: Brushing on this type was fine and was oriented vertically or diagonally to the rim. Brushing likely covered most of the body of the vessel, however Keel made no mention of its distribution.

 

VESSEL FORM: Pigeon vessels are known to include simple open bowls, straight-sided conoidal jars, jars with slightly restricted necks, and flat based jars with large podal supports. Rims are straight to slightly flaring with lips that are rounded or paddle-flattened and slightly everted. Basal supports were conical or wedged when present.

 

CHRONOLOGY: Dates relating to the Pigeon period reported by Keel ranged between AD 200 and 400, indicating that this is a Middle Woodland pottery type.

 

GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTION: This type is known only from the Garden Creek Mound No.2 site in North Carolina.

 Pigeon dist SE