ALABAMA PUNCTATED POTTERY

 

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.

 

 

ALEXANDER PUNCTATED

 

 

(Left) Alabama Department of Archives & History #85.7.52, (Right) Journal of Alabama Archaeology Vol.37 Pl.21

RESEARCH: Alexander ceramics were first recognized in the middle Tennessee valley of northern Alabama in the Wheeler Reservoir area by John Griffin and William G. Hagg in 1939. Caryn Hollingsworth mentioned this type in his research at the Sheeps Bluff Shelter site in 1991.[i] The Sheeps Bluff Shelter site is located in Franklin County, Alabama.

TEMPER: Sand was used as temper in this type.

SURFACE DECORATION: These are systematic punctations with clay ridges. The punctations are carefully arranged in closely spaced parallel horizontal rows to decorate the top of the vessels. The remaining body of the vessel was undecorated.

VESSEL FORMS: The 29 sherds recovered at the Sheeps Bluff Shelter gave insufficient evidence to identify any vessel form. The above example from the Alabama Department of Archives gives us at least a globular jar form with a flaring rim and rounded lips.

CHRONOLOGY: Alexander pottery has been assigned to Griffin’s Late Gulf Formational stage in northwest Alabama dating between 500 and 100 BC.

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.



[i] Hollingsworth, Caryn Y., Ceramic Descriptions and Discussion, Journal of Alabama Archaeology. Vol., 37, p.97

 

 

 

 

ANDERSON PUNCTATED

 

Alabama Division of Archives & History #

 

RESEARCH: David W. Chase defined this type in 1968.[i] Chase did his research for this type in the Late Woodland context of sites within the central Alabama area.

TEMPER: Grit was used as temper in this pottery. The exterior texture is somewhat coarse (smoothed with a stick, although always smooth in rim area), although some examples have been burnished, and the color is usually buff to orange, but rarely gray.

SURFACE DECORATION: The decoration on this pottery consists of deeply singular or multiple rows of angular, square or rectangular (never round) deeply impressed punctations that run parallel or diagonally to the rim.

VESSEL FORM: These seem to be globular vessels with straight or inverted rims with thinned, semi-pinched and rounded squared lips. Bases are thickened.

CHRONOLOGY: This is a Late Woodland pottery type.

GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTION: This type has a slightly wider distribution across central Alabama, stretching almost to the Tombigbee River.

 


[i] Chase, David W. New Pottery Types From Central Alabama, SEAC Bulletin 5, p. 42

 

CARABELLE PUNCTATED

 

 

 

RESEARCH: Gordon R. Willey named this type in 1949.[i] The type was named after the Carrabelle site in Franklin County, Florida.

TEMPER: Carrabelle pottery is sand-tempered.

SURFACE DECORATION: Designs are arranged in a field around the upper portion of the vessel below the rim.  There is a good deal of variation as to kinds of punctations used.  These variations tend to grade into each other.  They are: Fingernail punctations placed longitudinally or parallel to the vertical axis of the vessel; stick-made punctations, rectangular or triangular with considerable size range; round-bottomed dents or shallow stick punctations; hollow-reed punctations; and double-rowed fingernail punctations with paste slightly pinched and piled up near the punctation.  The field of punctations may be underlined with an incised line.

VESSEL FORMS: Known forms are globular bowls with a flared orifice, flattened-globular bowls, short-collared jars, and jars with cambered rims that are direct or slightly in-curving. Rims may be slightly thickened near the margin.  Thin, flat exterior folds are common.  Lips are flat-round to pointed-round.

CHRONOLOGY: The type belongs to the Middle Woodland, Weeden Island I & II periods.  This may be the first of the incised or punctated Weeden Island types.

GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTION: The type is found along the Gulf Coast area of Florida; most commonly between Apalachicola River and Cedar Keys to central Alabama and Georgia.

 

[i] Willey, Gordon R., Archaeology of the Florida Gulf Coast, Bureau of American Ethnology Smithsonian Institution, 1949, p.425

 

 

CHURUPA PUNCTATED


 

Santa Rosa Punctate Yent Mound fl.jpg

C.B. Moore 1902 Fig.237, Yent Mound

 

RESEARCH: Steve B. Wimberly discussed this type in 1960,[i] however the type was named by James Ford and Gordon Willey in 1939. Wimberly’s research was done on sites in Mobile and Clarke counties in Alabama.

TEMPER: A mixture of clay particles and fine sand were used as temper for this type. The paste colors are usually light tan, sometimes with an orange hue to dark brown, but rarely black.

SURFACE DECORATION: Decoration is very similar to Santa Rosa Punctated with broad incised lines that are shallow and U-shaped in cross-section. Designs are sweeping with alternate spaces filled with hemi-conical punctations.

VESSEL FORMS: Known forms include beakers and hemispherical bowls. The lips are flat and broad due to an interior rim fold that quickly thins downwards.

CHRONOLOGY: Ford and Willey assigned this type to the Middle Woodland, middle to late Marksville period.

GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTION: As part of the Marksville Hopewellian Interaction sphere, this type might range from southern Mississippi and Louisiana to Mobile Bay and up the Tombigbee River to at least Clarke County, Alabama.



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

 

 

COLUMBUS PUNCTATED

 

 

 

(combined with Alexander Incised)

RESEARCH: Hollingsworth described this type in his research in 1991.[i] Hollingsworth did his research at the Sheep’s Bluff Shelter in Franklin County, Alabama

TEMPER: This type is sand-tempered.

SURFACE DECORATION: Systematically spaced parallel rows of horizontal punctations make up the design designated Columbus Punctated, but they are combined with a series of horizontally incised lines that were identified as being Alexander Incised.

VESSEL FORMS: Vessel forms for this type are unknown.

CHRONOLOGY: This type was assigned to Griffin’s Late Gulf Formational stage in northwest Alabama dating from 500 to 100 B.C.

GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTION: The distribution of this type extends from the upper Tombigbee River watershed to the Middle Tennessee River valley of northern Alabama’s Wheeler Reservoir area.



[i] Hollingsworth, Caryn Y. Ceramic Descriptions and Discussion, Journal of Alabama Archaeology Vol. 37, p.101

 

 

DEAS PUNCTATED

 

C.B. Moore 1918, Fig.31, Franklin County, Florida

 

RESEARCH: Deas pottery was named by Steve B. Wimberly in 1991.[i] Wimberly’s research was completed in Clarke County, Alabama.

TEMPER: This is a pottery type tempered with coarse sand that is abrasive to the touch.

SURFACE DECORATION: The surface of this type was decorated by first being covered with simple stamping applied with a paddle, then triangular punctations were applied in rows or lines or individually punctations. The punctuating tool seems to have been rectangular and held at an angel to produce the triangular punctations. The rows of punctation could run diagonally down the side of the vessel and could be long or short. The rows might also curve until they intersect with other rows diagonally or at right angles. Continuous rows of punctation might be closely spaced or be set apart. Decoration covers the entire surface except the lip and rows of punctation might extend across the surface of the entire vessel or be confined to a single row running along the shoulder of the vessel.

VESSEL FORMS: The more dominant vessel form was a medium sized jar with gently sloping shoulders and a vertical, straight or recurved rim. A second, less common form was a medium-sized globular bowl with direct rims following the same arc as the sides of the bowl.

CHRONOLOGY: This type seems to be Late Woodland to Early Mississippian and belonging to the Weeden Island period.

GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTION: Wimberly’s research seemed to indicate that this type was limited to an area in and around Clarke County, Alabama.  Moore's recovery from Franklin County, Florida may have been the result of trade or it may indicate a broader distribution of the type.



[i] Wimberly, Steve B. Indian Pottery From Clarke County and Mobile County, Southern Alabama, University of Alabama, p.170

 

 

SANTA ROSA PUNCTATED

C.B. Moore 1901 Fig.13, Mound in Kimbell’s Field along the Tombigbee River

RESEARCH: Gordon Willey name and defined this type in 1949 from sites along the Northwest Florida Coast. It is named for Santa Rosa County, Florida.

TEMPER: Willey indicated that this temper shared the same characteristics as the Alligator Bayou Stamped type that is tempered with ground clay (perhaps sherd fragments) or, in some cases, fine to medium sand. Clay-tempered sherds will have a lumpy surface. The color of the exterior surface varies from chalky white to buff or red-buff. The core tends to be gray or black.

SURFACE DECORATION: The decoration on this type consists of round-bottom incised lines and semi-hemispherical punctations. The decoration figures are both curvilinear and rectilinear incised designs with punctations used as filler. Decoration is usually confined to the top portion of the vessel. This type is very similar to the Troyville related Churupa Punctated type.

VESSEL FORMS: Vessels of this type tend to be short-collared jars. Wimberly’s work in southwestern Alabama shows that globular bowls are also a part of the vessel form make up. The Alabama examples have a pseudo-rim area void of decoration and a line at the bottom of the decorated area. Wimberly also stated that some jars have an out-flaring rim.

 

CHRONOLOGY: Santa Rosa pottery belongs to the Middle Woodland period.

GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTION: The total range of distribution seems to include the western end of the Northwest Florida Coast and from Mobile Bay north to the lower Tombigbee and Alabama River basins.

 

 

WEEDEN ISLAND PUNCTATED

 

 

 

Bruce Butts collection

RESEARCH: This type was named by Gordon Willey in 1949.[i] Willey’s research revealed that this type was present with much more frequency along the Central Gulf Coast of Florida than along the northwestern coast.

TEMPER: Find sand with only rare coarser particles in the form of grit or lumps of clay was used as temper in this type. Micah is observed in most sherds.

SURFACE DECORATION: Decoration of this type consisted of round or small triangular punctuations impressed into soft clay of vessels before firing. The use of deep, rounded punctuations, large triangular punctuations, and hollow-read punctuations were used at the termination of segmentation of lines. Occasionally the use of fine incision was used, but only as a subsidiary element in the punctuation design. Designs are basically curvilinear and tend to emphasize contrasting areas of the plain polished surface in contrast to punctated fields. Designs were often brought out negatively by punctuating only the background fields. Most punctated designs were continuous meanders, scrolls, lobe forms, leaf-like forms, circles, and triangles. These elements are outlined with lines of closely-spaced punctations and are often filled with widely-spaced punctations. The various geometrical elements are usually connected by lines of punctuations, integrating all parts of the design into one over-all composition. Relief modeling and appliqué techniques were used to delineate effigy features.

VESSEL FORMS: Vessel forms include flattened-globular bowls, simple jars, open bowls, short-colored jars and cylindrical beakers.

CHRONOLOGY: This type appears primarily in the Weeden Island II period, although it may also occur in the Weeden Island I period.

GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTION: This type appears along the northwest and central Gulf coast of Florida, especially in the Manatee region.

 

[i] Gordon R., Archaeology of the Florida Gulf Coast, Bureau of American Ethnology Smithsonian Institution, 1949, p.440

 

 

WHEELER PUNCTATED

 

 

 

Journal of Alabama Archaeology Vol.37 Pl.20 B

RESEARCH: Hollingsworth reported on this type in 1991 from the Sheeps Bluff shelter site.[i] The Sheeps Bluff shelter site, located in Franklin County, Alabama yielded four sherds of this type that seem to date with the Plain type.

TEMPER: This type was tempered with plant fiber added to the clay, leaving creases over the vessel surface. Later forms of Wheeler pottery included limestone, with or without the presence of fiber.

SURFACE DECORATION: At the Sheeps Bluff shelter, punctated decoration consisted of closely-spaced rounded punctations in relatively parallel rows or randomly placed punctations of the same description. Surfaces are smoothed and show little to no fiber marks.

VESSEL FORMS: Louis D. Tesar (1980)[ii] suggested that these vessels might have been fashioned after the steatite vessels that preceded them. The Sheeps Bluff site held sherds with straight rims and rounded lips.

CHRONOLOGY: Hollingworth called this type the marker for the Middle Gulf Formational period in northern Alabama dating between 1200 and 500 B.C.

GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTION: Tesar’s estimation of Wheeler distribution included western and northwestern Georgia all of Alabama except southwestern Alabama, eastern Tennessee and western South Carolina.



[i] Hollingsworth, Caryn Y. Ceramic Descriptions and Discussion, Journal of Alabama Archaeology Vol. 37, p.101

[ii] Tesar, Louis D., The Leon County Bicentennial Survey Report: An Archaeological Survey of Selected Portions of Leon County, Florida