ALABAMA FABRIC MARKED 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.

 

 

DUNLAP FABRIC IMPRESSED

 

 

 

Research: Dr Douglas Jones, defined as a pottery type of Georgia by Sears and Griffin, 1950.

Site & location: Davison Creek Site, Monroe County near Natchez

Temper: grit, in the Mobile Bay area medium to fine sand, often micaceous.  Dark gray to gray-buff surface.

Surface decoration: While paste was soft, the design was impressed on the exterior surface by the repeated application of a fabric covered paddle or cylinder, the fabric having a heavy warp and fine weft.

Vessel form: Sherds suggest medium-sized deep bowl or jar forms with slight shoulders if present at all.  Rims are vertical to slightly out-slanting, occasionally bearing a slight, exterior, crude fold.  Lips are rounded to round-flattened and sometimes flattened.

Chronology: Early Woodland

Distribution: Georgia to southeastern Alabama with some evidence that it may have extended into the Middle Woodland period in some places.

 

 

JAMES CORD FABRIC IMPRESSED


RESEARCH: Steve B. Wimberly defined this type as part of the Weeden Island period in 1960.[i] Wimberly’s research focused on sites in Clarke and Mobile counties, Alabama.

TEMPER: This is a sand-tempered pottery type.

SURFACE DECORATION: Decoration designs were made with a fabric covered paddle. The fabric had a fine weft (the shorter cross threads) and an equally fine, but looser woven warp (the lengthwise threads). The weaving technique is not simple braiding, but more of a twining technique. This design does not give the ripple effect seen on most of the fabric impressed pottery types like Dunlap Fabric Marked. Instead, there is a neat, closely spaced cord marking that is crossed with a loose network of cords. The crossing threads of the warp appear in a crude curvilinear net pattern.

VESSEL FORMS: Sherds suggest a medium-large open globular jar with straight, vertical or slightly out-slanting rims and gently sloping shoulders. A small, rather ragged rim fold was formed. Lips are rounded or round-pointed.

 

CHRONOLOGY: This type belongs to the Weeden Island period during the Late Woodland to Early Mississippian periods.

GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTION: Wimberly recovered known sherds from the James Village site in Clarke County, Alabama, but gives no other distribution data. It may be present in a somewhat wider distribution pattern within the lower Tombigbee River valley.

 



[i] Wimberly, Steve B. Indian Pottery From Clarke County and Mobile County, Southern Alabama, University of Alabama, pp.172

 

 

LANGSTON FABRIC IMPRESSED (Salt Pan Ware)

RESEARCH: This type was defined by Marion D. Heimlich in 1952 as a pottery type of the Mississippian Period of north Alabama.[i] Wimberly encountered sherds of this type and reported on them in 1960.[ii]

SITE & LOCATION: Wimberly reported on this type from sites in Clarke County, Alabama. Jefferson Chapman reported recovering examples of this type from the Little Tennessee River.

TEMPER: This type usually has abundant amounts of coarsely crushed shell that were used as temper.  The paste core is gray.

SURFACE DECORATION: All of exterior surface except the lip is covered with fabric impressions.  Interiors are very smooth, but pitted by the leaching out of large shell particles.  Surfaces are usually buff or, infrequently, gray-brown.  Fire clouding is present but rarely.  An overall fabric pattern, displaying evidence of two techniques of weaving, twining and looping (net weave) are present.  The most common type is twining, with the weft (crossing) cords closely spaced (1 - 2 mm apart) and warp (lengthwise) cords spaced much wider apart (8 mm. to 1.5 cm. with most examples near 1 cm.).

VESSEL FORMS: The only known vessel form represented is a large circular basin with out-slanting sides and direct rims.  The lips are flattened and beveled toward the interior, with exterior beveling often accompanying the interior beveling, giving an angular, ridged lip.  The lip is often as wide as 2.5 cm. forming a thick exterior flange.  Vessels range from 45 to 60 cm in diameter and 10 to 15 cm. high.

CHRONOLOGY: This type belongs to the Late Mississippian period and may be related to the Beckum Plain type, which is also a salt pan form.  Langston pottery is not known from historic sites in Alabama.

 

GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTION: Wimberly gave the distribution of this type as simply “Alabama,” specifying that this was typically considered a northern Alabama type, while Chapman reported recoveries along the Little Tennessee River in eastern Tennessee.

 



[i] Heimlich, Marion D., untersville Basin Pottery. Geological Survey of Alabama, Museum Paper 32, University

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

 

 

LONG BRANCH FABRIC MARKED

 

 

 

RESEARCH: Haag defined this type in 1942 as part of the Copena culture, however Lewis and Kneberg saw it more as a part of the Hamilton and Candy Creek focus in eastern Tennessee. Hollingsworth also recovered examples of this type, reporting his findings in 1991.[i]

SITE & LOCATION: The research of Hollingsworth was done at the Sheep’s Bluff Shelter site in Franklin County, Alabama.

TEMPER: This is a limestone-tempered pottery type. This is the most frequently used temper of the Woodland period from the Norris Basin and along the Tennessee River into the Pickwick Basin and northern Alabama.

SURFACE DECORATION: The decoration on this pottery is done with tightly woven fabric impressions that Lewis and Kneberg believed were made by forming the pottery inside a basket. The weave appears in straight lines that do not overlap as they might if the fabric impressions were stamped.

 

VESSEL FORMS: If this ware is related to the Hamilton focus as Lewis and Kneberg suspect, the vessel forms might be deep cylindrical and globular jars and shallow bowls.

CHRONOLOGY: Copena culture of northern Alabama

GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTION: This type has been recovered from the Pickwick Basin and Middle Tennessee River valley in northern Alabama and southern Tennessee to the Norris Basin in eastern Tennessee.


 



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

 

 

SALTILLO FABRIC MARKED

 

 

 

Research: Miller ceramics first described by Jennings (1941, 1981), this site by Hollingsworth, Alabama Journal of Archaeology, Vol. 37, 1991

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

Temper: sand

Surface decoration: Cord markings haphazardly applied with a single cord-wrapped dowel

Vessel form: Unknown

Chronology: AD 300-600 Middle Woodland

Distribution: Upper Tombigbee River drainage area

 

WITHERS FABRIC MARKED

 

Research: Steve Wimberly (1960), Phillips Ford (1951) defined this as a Tchula period type in the lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley.

Site & location: The McVay Village site

Temper: Clay particles with medium fine sand

Surface decoration: Fabric marked impressions similar to Dunlap Fabric Marked with heavy warp and find weft weave.

Vessel form: Jars with out-slanting rims and flattened or rounded plain lips.

Chronology: Early Woodland period

Distribution: Louisiana, Mississippi, eastern Arkansas, southern Missouri, southwestern Alabama