ALABAMA PLAIN 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.

 

 

BALDWIN PLAIN

 

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

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

Temper: sand

Surface decoration: Plain, may be red filmed

Vessel form: lips are flattened, rims can be everted or turned sharply outward at a 90 degree angle to the body of the vessel

Chronology: AD 300-600 Middle Woodland

Distribution: Upper Tombigbee River drainage area

 

 

BAYOU LA BATRE PLAIN


Research: Steve Wimberly, 1960

Site & location: Bayou La Batre Shell Midden site, Mobile County, Alabama

Temper: Moderate amounts of medium-coarse sand, often with granule gravel additions represented by particles 3 to 4 mm in diameter.  Sherds tempered with fine sand and fine sand together with minor amounts of clay lumps are much more common than in Bayou La Batre Stamped.

Surface decoration: Plain.  Surfaces were floated to bring the finer particles to the surface.

Vessel form: No complete vessels are known.  Deep Truncate-conoidal open bowls with a small base platform are most common.  Two minority forms: a hemispherical bowl form having a slightly constricted mouth, and the other a globular jar form that is 15 to 20 cm wide having a short rim.  One very small globular jar form was recovered that may have had a diameter of only 8 cm.  Bases are represented by tetrapodal types, either wedge or mammiform, semi-annular, pseudo-annular, and rounded.  All bases except the rounded type apparently accompany the truncate-conoidal bowl form.  The rounded base most likely accompanied the hemispherical bowls and globular jars. 

Chronology: Early Woodland period and may have extended into the Middle Woodland at the McQuorquodale Mound site.

Distribution: The Mobile Bay region and up the Mobile and Tombigbee rivers into Clarke County, Alabama.

 

 

BECKUM PLAIN

 

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BELL PLAIN

Research: Dr Douglas Jones

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

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Chronology:  (AD 1350-1600)

 

CONNESTEE PLAIN

 

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.

 

FRANKLIN PLAIN

 

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LAKE JACKSON PLAIN

 


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MARKSVILLE PLAIN

 

Research: Ford and Willey (1940)

Site & location: Clarke County, Alabama sites

Temper: Clay and sand

Surface decoration: Plain

Vessel form: Medium to large deep bowls are dominant with rounded, vertical sides.  Vessel mouths are slightly constricted and bases are flattened and can be rounded or square.  Jar-like bowls with slightly everted rims are infrequent.  Rim folds are narrow and rounded while other rims are rounded to nearly flanged with interior folds to form a thick, broad, flat lip.  Some lips are cambered and appear as pseudo-rims set off with a shallow, rounded, incised line.

Chronology: Middle Woodland

Distribution: Louisiana, Mississippi, southwestern Alabama

 

 

 

McKELVEY PLAIN

 

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

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

Temper: Grog

Surface decoration: Plain

Vessel form: Some flat-bottomed and boat-shaped vessels

Chronology: AD 500-1000

Distribution: Northwestern Alabama

 


McLEOD PLAIN

 

Research: Described by Wimberly (1953)

Site & location: McLeod Estate Village site

Temper: Fine to medium fine sand

Surface decoration: A single, broad, sharply cut, incised line that is often poorly drawn and almost wavy in places sometimes encircling the exterior of the vessel below the lip.

Vessel form: Flattened-globular bowls with constricted openings to hemispherical bowls and shallow bowls with straight to slightly out-slanting rounded sides.  Rims range from simple to a minority of rounded folded rims that are plain and poorly finished.

Chronology: Early to Middle Woodland, probably persisting into the Early Mississippian period

Distribution: Southwestern Alabama

 

MULBERRY CREEK PLAIN

 

 

 

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

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

Temper: Limestone, pit marks may be evident where limestone has eroded out of the surface

Surface decoration: Plain

Vessel form: Jars with 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

 

MISSISSIPPIAN PLAIN

 

This burial urn was recovered by C.B. More at the Durand's Bend site in Autauga County, Alabama.  The top cover pot is Fort Walton and the bottom vessel is Mississippi Plain.

Private Collection, Alabama

 

 

Research: Dr Douglas Jones

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

Temper: Shell

Surface decoration: Plain

Vessel form: Strap handles, flattened or rounded lips, jars with flared rims and constricted necks

Chronology: as early as AD 900, Early Miss. AD 1000-1250, mid Miss. AD 1250-1400, Late Miss. AD 1400-1540, Pensacola culture (AD 1050-1550)

 

OCMULGEE FIELDS PLAIN

 


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O’NEAL PLAIN

 

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

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

Temper: sand

Surface decoration: Plain

Vessel form: Unknown

Chronology: Griffin’s Late Gulf Formational stage in northwest Alabama 500 BC to 100 BC

Distribution: Middle Tennessee River valley of northern Alabama Wheeler Reservoir area

 


PENSACOLA PLAIN

 


Temper: crushed live shell. There is also a little sand and grit. Sometimes compact base texture; sometimes laminated and controlled. Paste Core is usually gray and surfaces usually buff or red-buff. In some cases pottery was fired gray-black throughout.

Distribution: most common in extreme western and of Northwest Florida, but it is found in small quantities as far east and south as Tampa Bay. Probably very common in South Alabama.

Age: middle Mississippian, Ft. Walton period. Also found as a minority type in safety Harbor sites.

Form: forms undoubtedly comparable to those of the Fort Walton series. Rim is usually unmodified except for an occasional heavy, round exterior fold. Lips are from flat to round-pointed. Bases were probably rounded.appendages were small vertical loop handles and ornamental nodes beneath the rim.

Decoration: surfaces were probably smoothed and polished before erosion. Most specimens are pitted as a result of the temper particles leaching out. Several of the black or gray-black sherds have retained a polish, on pitted surface. Color varies according to firing.

 

 

TCHEFUNCTE PLAIN

 

Research: Defined as a pottery type of the Tchefuncte Culture by Ford and Quimby, 1945.

Site & location: Bayou La Batre Shell Midden site, Mobile County, Alabama

Temper: Large amounts of angular lumps of clay (possibly crushed sherds giving the surface a lumpy texture) usually with additions of small to medium amounts of fine to medium-coarse sand.  Paste color is pinkish tan with a dark gray core when not fired all the way through. 

Surface decoration: Plain

Vessel form: No complete vessels are known from Alabama.  Sherds indicate deep conical bowl with podal supports or small hemispherical bowl with straight sides.  Bases are tetrapodal in either wedge or mammiform style.

Chronology: Early Woodland period

Distribution: With other Tchefunicte pottery in southern Mississippi and the Mobile Bay region of Alabama.

 


WEEDEN ISLAND PLAIN

 


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WHEELER PLAIN

 

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

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

Temper: Fiber

Surface decoration: Plain with fiber markings clearly visible

Vessel form: Bowls with straight rims that are slightly rounded toward the inside of the vessel

Chronology: Late Archaic to Early Woodland

Distribution: Most of Alabama and western Georgia