Maryland Diagnostic Artifacts JPPM Logo, when clicked on will take you back to home page for www.jefpat.org.

Prehistoric Ceramics

Prehistoric Sherd Identification

Below are four charts that offer a quick way to identify prehistoric ceramics. Select the region where the pottery was found and the follow the chart across from left to right. Start with the temper type, then go to surface treatment. Differences in decoration techniques and other defining characteristics will help narrow the ceramic ware choices. When a ware name is found, you can click on its name to go to the ware definition page.

Western Shore Coastal PlainEastern Shore Coastal PlainPiedmontWestern Maryland

WESTERN SHORE COASTAL PLAIN
TEMPER SURFACE TREATMENT DECORATION OTHER DEFINING CHARACTERISTICS CERAMIC WARE
Steatite Plain   flat bottoms; lug handles Marcey Creek
Cord-Marked     Selden Island
Sand Plain Plain, Incised or Cord-Impressed   Moyaone
Cord-Marked Usually undecorated Deep cord marks, usually oblique to rim Accokeek
Complex decorations   Minguannan
Plain, Incised or Cord-Impressed   Moyaone
Net-Impressed   often with interior scoring Popes Creek
Fabric-Impressed Complex decorations   Minguannan
Quartz Cord-Marked Usually undecorated Deep cord marks, usually oblique to rim Accokeek
Cord-wrapped stick impressions   Potomac Creek
Complex decorations   Minguannan
Smoothed Cord-wrapped stick impressions   Potomac Creek
Fabric-Impressed Complex decorations   Minguannan
Crushed Rock Cord-Marked Complex decorations   Minguannan
Fabric-Impressed Complex decorations  
Shell Plain     Yeocomico
Cord-Marked     Mockley
    Sullivan Cove
Net-impressed     Mockley
Fabric-Impressed     Townsend
EASTERN SHORE COASTAL PLAIN
TEMPER SURFACE TREATMENT DECORATION OTHER DEFINING CHARACTERISTICS CERAMIC WARE
Steatite Plain     Marcey Creek
Sand Cord-Marked Usually undecorated Deep cord marks, usually oblique to rim Accokeek
Complex decorations   Minguannan
Fabric-Impressed    
Hornblende Plain     Dames Quarter
Gneiss Plain    
Quartz Cord-Marked Usually undecorated Deep cord marks, usually oblique to rim; sherds range 6mm - 8mm thick Accokeek
Undecorated Sherds average 10 mm in thickness Wolfe Neck
Complex decorations   Minguannan
Net-Impressed Undecorated   Wolfe Neck
Fabric-Impressed Complex decorations   Minguannan
Crushed Rock Cord-Marked     Minguannan
Fabric-Impressed    
Grog Cord-Marked     Coulbourn
Net-Impressed    
Shell Cord-Marked     Mockley
Net-Impressed    
Fabric-Impressed     Townsend
PIEDMONT
TEMPER SURFACE TREATMENT DECORATION OTHER DEFINING CHARACTERISTICS CERAMIC WARE
Steatite Plain     Marcey Creek
Cord-Marked     Selden Island
Sand Cord-Marked     Accokeek
Net-impressed     Popes Creek (rare)
Quartz Cord-Marked     Accokeek
Cord-wrapped stick or Cord-Impressed   Shephard
Incised   Shenks Ferry
Gneiss Cord-Marked Cord-wrapped stick or Cord-Impressed   Shephard
Incised   Shenks Ferry
Limestone Cord-Marked     Page
Shell Cord-Marked     Mockley (rare)
Cord-wrapped stick or paddle impressions   Keyser
Net-impressed     Mockley (rare)
Smoothed Cord-wrapped stick or paddle impressions   Keyser
Fabric-Impressed     Townsend (rare)
WESTERN MARYLAND 
TEMPER SURFACE TREATMENT DECORATION OTHER DEFINING CHARACTERISTICS CERAMIC WARE
Steatite Plain   flat bottoms, lug handles Marcey Creek (rare)
Sand Cord-Marked Usually undecorated Deep cord marks, usually oblique to rim Accokeek
Quartz Cord-Marked Usually undecorated Deep cord marks, usually oblique to rim Accokeek
Cord-Marked     Shephard
Gneiss Cord-Marked     Shephard
Limestone Cord-Marked Undecorated   Watson
    Page
    Monongahela
Crushed Rock Cord-Marked   Interior cord-marking Vinette
Cord-Marked     Page
Cord-Marked     Monongahela
Cord-Marked Cord-wrapped stick impressions row of punctations or raised nodes below rim Clemson Island
Fabric-Impressed     Clemson Island
Shell Cord-Marked     Keyser
Smoothed     Keyser

Return to Top

Maryland Historical Trust logo links to the MHT website. Maryland Historical Trust logo links to the MHT website. Maryland Department of Planning logo links to the MDP website Maryland Department of Planning logo links to the MDP website