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Prehistoric Ceramics

Late Woodland (A.D. 950 - A.D. 1600)


The Late Woodland represents the continuation of economic and social trends of the preceding period. During this time, the farming of corn was introduced, even though it didn’t become a major food source until the few centuries of the Late Woodland. There was an increase in permanent settlements and eventually fortified villages, while the interior uplands continued to be exploited by hunting and foraging groups. Ceramic technology improved during the Late Woodland. Vessels were more thinly potted and fired at hotter temperatures, thus creating more durable wares. Decorative motifs became more complex and extensively used, possibly indicating different cultural affiliations.

Thumbnail of Clemson Island pottery sherd , when clicked on will open the ware description for this type. Clemson Island:
An early Late Woodland ware characterized by crushed rock temper with cord-marked or fabric-impressed surface treatments. One of the most distinctive features of Clemson Island pottery (but not necessarily found on all types) is a row of punctations and/or raised nodes/bosses below the lip or on the upper rim.
Thumbnail of Minguannan mended pottery sherds , when clicked on will open the ware description for this type. Minguannan:
A Late Woodland ware, characterized by sand, quartz, or grit temper, cord-marked or fabric-impressed exterior surfaces, and broad line, incised direct cord and pseudo cord decorations. Defined types include Minguannan Plain, Minguannan Compound Decorated, Minguannan Incised, and Minguannan Corded.
Thumbnail of Shenks Ferry mended pottery sherds , when clicked on will open the ware description for this type. Shenks Ferry:
A Late Woodland ware characterized by crushed granite or quartz temper and a cord-marked exterior with the cords aligned vertically to the vessel. Decoration consists of incised lines in geometric patterns encircling the rim. Defined types include Shenks Ferry Cord-Marked, Shenks Ferry Incised, Lancaster Plain and Lancaster Incised.
Thumbnail of Page pottery rim sherd , when clicked on will open the ware description for this type. Page:
An early Late Woodland ware, characterized by limestone temper and a cord-marked exterior surface, often with an added strip or pseudo-collar around the rim. Decorative techniques include cord-wrapped stick impressions or incising on the lip and rim exterior, and rarely lugs or castellations.
Thumbnail of Sullivan Cove pottery rim sherd , when clicked on will open the ware description for this type. Sullivan Cove:
A Late Woodland ware, characterized by fine shell tempering, thin vessel walls, a hard compact paste, conoidal bases, and cord-wrapped paddle impressions on the exterior surface. Defined types consist of Sullivan Cove Cord-Marked and Sullivan Cove Plain.
Thumbnail of Keyser pottery rim sherd , when clicked on will open the ware description for this type. Keyser:
A Late Late Woodland ware, characterized by shell temper, a cord-marked exterior often over-stamped obliquely, a notched lip surface, and a wide mouthed globular body and rounded base. Variations include plain-surfaced exteriors.
Thumbnail of Shepard pottery rim sherd , when clicked on will open the ware description for this type. Shepard:
A Late Woodland ware, characterized by quartz and/or crushed igneous rock temper and a cord-marked exterior surface. Vessels often have added collars (applied strips of clay on the exterior of the rims).
Thumbnail of Moyaone pottery rim sherd , when clicked on will open the ware description for this type. Moyaone:
A Late Woodland ware, characterized by fine grained sand and mica temper, soft texture, compact paste, and smoothed interior and exterior surfaces. Defined types include Moyaone Plain, Moyaone Cord-Impressed, and Moyaone Incised.
Thumbnail of Yeocomico pottery sherd , when clicked on will open the ware description for this type. Yeocomico:
A shell-tempered Late Woodland ware characterized by smooth, scraped-smooth or cord-marked surfaces. Defined types include Yeocomico Plain, Yeocomico Scraped, and Yeocomico Cord-Marked.
Thumbnail of Townsend Series pottery rim sherd , when clicked on will open the ware description for this type. Townsend Series:
Late Woodland to Early Contact-period wares, characterized by shell temper, fabric-impressed exterior surfaces, and various decorative motifs. Defined types include Rappahannock Fabric-Impressed, Rappahannock Incised, Rappahannock Plain, Townsend Herringbone, and Townsend Corded-Horizontal.
Thumbnail of Potomac Creek pottery rim sherd , when clicked on will open the ware description for this type. Potomac Creek:
A Late Woodland ware, characterized by a crushed quartz or sand temper, cord-marked exteriors, and rim strips (collars). Defined types include Potomac Creek Plain and Potomac Creek Cord-Marked.
Thumbnail of Monongahela pottery rim sherd , when clicked on will open the ware description for this type. Monongahela:
A complex series that begin with an early grit or limestone tempered group and end with a very anomalous collection of types found in southwestern Pennsylvania during the post-Contact period. The earliest Drew phase ceramics of the Middle to Late Woodland transition exhibit incising on the exterior surfaces, sometimes in rectilinear zoned patterns.

Additional and more extensive information can be obtained for these time periods from the following sources:

Curry and Kavanagh 1991
; Custer 1983, 1989, 1996; Dent 1995; Gardner 1982; Herbert 1994; Hughes 1980; Kavanagh 1982; Kavanagh and Ebright 1988; Reeve and Seigel 1994; Steponaitis 1980; Wall 1993b, 2001; Wanser 1982

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