ALABAMA CHECK STAMPED 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.

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.

 

 

 

BEAR CREEK CHECK STAMPED

 

 

RESEARCH: David W. Chase defined this type in 1968.[i] Chase did research on sites near Montgomery in central Alabama.

TEMPER: This is a grit-tempered ware with a somewhat coarse texture that is normally burnished on the inside. The paste color is buff or gray that looks like “salt and pepper” in the light areas due to the grit.

SURFACE DECORATION: The surface of this type is lightly check stamped with fairly large, shallow squares measuring about 8mm across. The stamping covers the entire surface of the vessel.

VESSEL FORM: Vessels of this type are elongated cylindrical vessels with everted rims and rounded lips. The bases are semi-conical to round.

CHRONOLOGY: This type seems to be related to the Wilson Check Stamped type of the Late Woodland period.

GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTION: This type seems to be the western extension of Wilson Check Stamped pottery that appears in central Alabama.



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

 

 

 

 

BOYD CHECK STAMPED

 

 

Jacky Fuller collection

RESEARCH: This type was named by Joseph Caldwell in 1955.[i] Caldwell’s report was part of his survey of the Allatoona Reservoir in Cherokee County, Georgia.

TEMPER: Medium sized grit particles were used as temper in this type. Past is gray to black or white in color that results from firing in a reduced-oxygen atmosphere.

SURFACE DECORATION: Decoration consists of deep check stamping may have a slight hump in the center of the check.

VESSEL FORMS: Globular jars with flattened bottoms and flaring rims. Rims have an appliqué strip with finger-notching along the edge.

CHRONOLOGY: This is Historic period pottery that was made by the Cherokee people living in northwestern Georgia in the late 1700’s after the Revolutionary War.

GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTION: This type ranges from northwestern Georgia into western South Carolina (earlier), southeastern Tennessee and northeastern Alabama.



[i] Caldwell, Joseph R. Cherokee Pottery from Northern Georgia. American Antiquity 20(2)

 

 

 

 

 

COBB’S SWAMP CHECK STAMPED

 

 

Early Georgia 2011 Vol.39 p.153 Fig.3

RESEARCH: David Chase defined this type at the SEAC conference in 1967.[i] This type name reflects Middle Woodland, grit-tempered examples found in the central Alabama sites near Montgomery.

TEMPER: This pottery is tempered with particles of crushed grit.

SURFACE DECORATION: The check stamping on this type is comparable to and contemporaneous with Deptford pottery of the Middle Woodland period in Georgia. The stamping on this vessel covers the lower portion of the vessel below the shoulder while the rim area is plain, constricted and has a slight flare to the rim.

VESSEL FORMS: Chase made no comment regarding vessel form in his comments; however, this type should follow the same deep vessel forms that appeared elsewhere during this period with or without podal supports. Rims should be simple and lips may be scalloped or straight. The vessel pictured above was recovered and reassembled from the Catoma Creek site, feature 5. It was the most complete vessel from the site.

CHRONOLOGY: This type was assigned to the Middle Woodland period.

GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTION: The anticipated range of distribution for this type is within the Middle Woodland context sites of central Alabama.



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

 

CONNESTEE CHECK STAMPED

 

Connestee pottery has a distribution range that extends across southeastern Tennessee, western North and South Carolina, and northern Alabama and Georgia. Radiocarbon dates from places like Russell Cave in Alabama, Ice House Bottom in Tennessee and the Garden Creek mound in North Carolina date this pottery between 530 and 805 A.D. Tempered with fine sand and small amounts of crushed quartz, Connestee pottery is decorated with brush marks, check stamping, cord marking or plain surfaces.

DEPTFORD/CARTERSVILLE CHECK STAMPED

 

 

 

RESEARCH: The type was named by Joseph Caldwell and Antonio Waring in the 1930’s.[i] The name Deptford Bold Check was essentially dropped by the 1960’s. The type was named for the Deptford site in Chatham County, Georgia. This is the same as Cartersville Check Stamped north of Georgia’s Fall Line.

 

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 check stamping. Stamps are generally square or slightly rectangular and clearly stamped. Some stamping was purposely obliterated after stamping.

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. North of Georgia’s Fall Line it is known as Cartersville Check Stamped, but the pottery is the same as Deptford pottery.

 


 

 


[i] Williams, Mark. Georgia Indian Pottery web site, University of Georgia

 

GULF CHECK STAMPED

 

 

 

 

McLEOD LINEAR CHECK STAMPED

 

Recovered by C.B. Moore at Kimbell's Field in Clarke County, Alabama

Research: Dejarnette (1952), Gresham et al. 1987

Site & location: Eureka Landing site

Temper: Fine to Medium Sand. Buff surface with dark gray core and gray interior.

Surface decoration: Linear Check stamping over the entire vessel. The stamping paddle was carved with wide lands transversed by thinner lands at right angles.  The resulting checks were usually rectangular but could be square.  the thin transverse lines are distinct from the wide lands, but can range to nearly simple check stamping in some examples.  Stamping occurs in lands that are 5 to 6 rows wide and can be laid most often parallel to the lip, but could be diagonal to the lip, and rarely perpendicular to the lip and infrequently crisscrossed, although this occurs more often than in McLeod Check Stamped.  When folded rims are present, the rim is plain, having been folded over the stamped body of the vessel after stamping.  When the lip is removed, stamping appears under the lip.  Stamping covered the entire vessel, although stamping at the bottom may be partially obliterated.

Vessel form: Deep bowls with simple rims

Chronology: Intermediate between Early and Middle Woodland periods and perhaps into Early the Mississippian period appearing with some Weeden Island related ceramics.

Distribution: Tombigbee River valley and southeastern Alabama

 

 

 

McLEOD CHECK STAMPED

 

 

 

 

RESEARCH: Steve B. Wimberly described this type in detail in 1953 and again in 1960.[i] Wimberly did his research in 1960 at the McLeod Estate Village site just south of Horseshoe Lake, Alabama.

TEMPER: Sand was used as temper for this type.

SURFACE DECORATION: Decoration for this type consists of square to rectangular check stamping over the entire vessel except for the folded rim when present.  Stamping is done diagonal or parallel to the lip. It appears that the excess clay was folded to form the rim after stamping was completed. Rims folds are often uneven.

VESSEL FORMS: Known vessel forms include medium to large globular and flattened-globular jars or deep hemispherical bowls with simple rims.  Some open bowls measure 20-35 mm in diameter.  Open bowls do not have rim folds.  Vessel bottoms are unfinished or smoothed through rubbing against other objects.

CHRONOLOGY: Wimberly assigned this type to the Middle to Late Woodland between AD 600 and 800 and suggests that it lasted into the Early Mississippian period.

GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTION: Distribution for this type is in the Tombigbee River valley and southeastern Alabama.


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

 

 

 

 

 

OVERHILL CHECK STAMPED

 

 

(Top left & bottom) Author’s collection, (Top right) Tom Forman collection

 

RESEARCH: This type was named by Tom Lewis and Madeline Kneberg in 1946.[i] Named for the Overhill Cherokee of the 18th century, mostly found along the Little Tennessee and upper Hiwassee Rivers in eastern Tennessee and perhaps extreme northern Georgia.

TEMPER: Coarsely crushed shell or occasionally coarse grit served as temper for this type. The grit temperedexamples may be slightly earlier than the shell-tempered examples.

SURFACE DECORATION: Check stamping decorated this type extending over the entire vessel surface.

 

VESSEL FORMS: Known vessel forms include vertical jar rims and incurved or flared bowl rims.  Rims are also sometimes notched.

CHRONOLOGY: Shell tempered examples date to the mid 1700's as Cherokee pottery.  The grit tempered examples are thought to be somewhat earlier as well as contemporaneous with shell tempered examples.

 

GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTION: The majority of this type of pottery is found in along the Little Tennessee and upper Hiwassee Rivers of eastern Tennessee. Possibly also found in extreme northern Georgia, northeastern Alabama and western South and North Carolina.



[i] Lewis, Thomas M.N. and Madeline Kneberg. Hiwassee Island An Archaeological Account of Four Tennessee Indian Peoples, University of Tennessee Press, 1946

 

 

 

SAUTY CHECK STAMPED

 

 

SAVANNAH CHECK STAMPED

 

 

From the University of Georgia collections, Private collection from central Georgia

RESEARCH: This type was defined by Joseph Caldwell and Antonio Waring in 1939 from the excavations at the Irene site.[i] The type is named for the Savannah River and the city of Savannah.

TEMPER: The grit used in this type as temper ranges from fine to coarse. The surface can be fine to coarse and is usually sandy. The core color ranges from buff to dark gray and is often the same as the surface. The exterior color can be buff, red, light brown or dark gray. The interior surfaces are smoothed and sometimes burnished.

SURFACE DECORATION: The check stamping on this type was done with a paddle. The checks are square or diamond in shape and are 3 to 6mm in size. Stamping is carefully done but sometimes appears faint. Over-stamping is rare and generally occurs on vessel bottoms. Check Stamping cover all or most of the vessel.  Double rows of reed punctations, sometimes with nodes, may appear in the rim area.

VESSEL FORMS: Known vessel form is the globular jar with rounded bases.  Rims usually flare, but can be everted, straight, or rarely in-curving.  Folded rims are known, but seem to appear late in the type period.  These seem to have been done after the stamping was complete and were polished or smoothed. Lips are squared,stamped, beveled, or sometimes rounded.

CHRONOLOGY: This type belongs to the Middle Mississippian, Savannah period.

 

GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTION: Williams has suggested that this type is found over the entire state of Georgia. It occurs at least in areas indicated in north Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and perhaps Alabama.

 



[i] Williams, Stephen, The Waring Papers, The Collected Works of Antonio J. Waring, Jr., Papers of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. Vol 58, 1977

 

 

 

WAKULLA CHECK STAMPED

 

 

From the collection of Ben Booth, Clinch County, Georgia, from the collection of Jim Tatum from Tampa, Florida

RESEARCH: Gordon Willey defined this type from sites along the Florida Gulf Coast in 1949.[i]

TEMPER: The temper for this type seems to break into three divisions. The first division used fine sand just as the Weeden Island pottery did. The next division used much coarser sand (above right) with a rust or buff exterior. The final division used only a small amount of fine sand or diatomaceous earth (above left) with a modeled buff or gray exterior.

SURFACE DECORATION: Decoration was done with light lands of a check or cross-groove designed paddle. Checks are relatively small and cover the entire surface of the vessel. Folded or simple rims are stamped to the lip of the rim.

VESSEL FORMS: Vessel forms include flattened globular bowls, bowls with incurved rims, deep bowls with out-slanting rims, pots and jars with long and short collars.  Rims are in-curved, out-slanted, straight, slightly inverted or out-slanted.  Folded rims are often present.

CHRONOLOGY: This type dates to the Late Woodland, Weeden Island II period.

GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTION: The type occurs in Tampa Bay and sites along the Florida Gulf Coast and up the Chattahoochee River for an unknown distance and into south-central Georgia. Wimberly also encountered it at the James Village site in Clarke County, Alabama.



[i] Gordon R., Archaeology of the Florida Gulf Coast, Bureau of American Ethnology Smithsonian Institution, 1949, p. 437

 

WHEELER CHECK STAMPED

 


RESEARCH: This type was defined during WPA excavations in the 1930's and reported on by Caryn Hollingsworth in 1991.[i] Hollingsworth’s research was in the Wheeler Basin on the Tennessee River in north central Alabama.

TEMPER: This type is tempered with a combination of plant fiber and limestone. Hollingsworth list this type as a clay (grog) tempered type suggesting that the earlier vessels used as temper may have been limestone tempered.

SURFACE DECORATION: Surface decoration consists of check stamping that is often rhomboid in shape and smoothed over.

VESSEL FORMS:

CHRONOLOGY: This pottery dates from the Late Archaic to Early Woodland period. Pottery with dentate marking is more common on Wheeler pottery that dates later than Plain and Punctated types. Wheeler types have traditionally been looked at as later than Stallings or Orange types.

GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTION: Northern Alabama and northwestern Georgia.



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

 

 

WHITEOAK CHECK STAMPED

 

 

David Chase, SEAC Bulletin 10, 1969 Fig.4

RESEARCH: David W. Chase named and defined this type from two sites in Montgomery County, Alabama in 1969.[i]

TEMPER: Particles of coarse grit was used in this paste that left the surface rough and bumpy. The paste color ranges from yellow to buff and orange, but rarely gray.

SURFACE DECORATION: The check stamping consisted of large, square checks measuring 4 to 5mm. that were impressed with both shallow and deep markings. The presence of cross stamping indicates a random placement of impressions. Check stamping was applied over the entire surface of the vessel, over which a secondary decoration was applied. Secondary decoration consisted of punctations that were random or linear in pattern, fingernail punctation, or occasionally pinched rows.

VESSEL FORM: Vessels were elongated and straight sided, semi-conoidal forms with rounded bottoms. Rims were everted with squared or semi-rounded lips.

CHRONOLOGY: Chase believed the type would date to the Middle Woodland period about A.D. 600.

GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTION: This type is known from Wilcox, Dallas and Autauga counties in central Alabama.


[i] Chase, David W. New Pottery Types From Central Alabama, SEAC Bulletin 10, 1969

 

WILSON CHECK STAMPED

 

 

 

 

 

WOODSTOCK CHECK STAMPED

 

 

 

RESEARCH: The combined research of Robert Wauchope and Joseph Caldwell Robert Wauchope found the site and named the type, however documentation of their work has subsequently been lost.[i] The combined research of Robert Wauchope and Joseph Caldwell identified the Woodstock site in Cherokee County, Georgia. The type was named after the town of Woodstock, Georgia.

 

TEMPER: This type is tempered with either sand or grit. The paste is usually gray in color, but may be a dark tan.

 

SURFACE DECORATION: Decoration on this type consists of check stamping. The site should also contain Woodstock Complicated pottery for positive identification.

 

VESSEL FORMS: Known vessel forms include cylindrical beakers with out-curving or in-curving rims, globular jars, bowls with flaring or straight walls, deep pots with straight, out-slanting walls that turn upward below the lip. Lips are flat or rounded. Rims may also be scalloped with a broad, shallow notching.

 

CHRONOLOGY: This type belongs to the Late Woodland, Woodstock period.

 

GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTION: This type is found in northwestern Georgia and may appear in eastern Alabama.



[i] Williams, Mark. Georgia Indian Pottery web site

 

 

WRIGHT CHECK STAMPED

 

 

 

Research: Hollingsworth, Alabama Journal of Archaeology, Vol. 37, 1991

Site & location: Sheep’s Bluff Shelter, Franklin Co, Alabama

Temper: Limestone, pits may be present from eroding limestone from the surface

Surface decoration: Check stamping over the entire surface of the vessel. Most checks are square or rectangular while several sherds show rhomboidal or diamond shaped checks.

Vessel form: Flared rim vessels. May have podal supports.

Chronology: AD 150-500 Middle Woodland marker (Wheeler fiber was Late Archaic to Early Woodland) Copena culture of northern Alabama

Distribution: Middle Tennessee River valley and eastern Alabama