Pottery is an amazing artifact.  There are many types, all with different designs or no design at all.  Designs come from the potter's imagination or his beliefs.  All have different tempers, some of grit or small pebbles, some of Spanish Moss that has burned away, leaving only a trace of its existence.  Some types are tempered with sand and some with clay; others with what some would call no temper at all, only to discover that there are small, microscopic sponge spicules that hold it together.

Think about this. Pottery is a lot like people.  Each one was fashioned by the Potter's hand, each uniquely designed from the Potter's heart.  Some were designed for daily use while others were designed for special occasions and celebration.  All were tempered, but all have a different temperament.  How has the Potter designed you and tempered you?  What was His special plan and purpose?  We are clay in His hands.  Many are like much of the pottery we find, broken and discarded by the world, but there is still hope.  Like the pot sherds that were broken and cast aside, then recovered and rounded into gaming stones to become the center of joy in an Indian's life, our broken lives can be renewed to become the center of joy in the Potter's heart.


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.





Florida Museum of Natural History

Temper: Medium grained quartz sand; gray, brown, or buff color

Distribution: Gainesville, Florida area

Age: Possible Late Woodland, Mississippian to Historic period, contemporary with Leon-Jefferson pottery

Form: Simple bowls with unmodified rims

Decoration: Plain, undecorated surface


Florida Museum of Natural History

Defined by Gordon Willey from the Belle Glade site and Palm Beach County, Florida

Temper: Sand.  A ware which is intermediate between Glades Plain and Biscayne Plain in amount of sand used as an aplastic and in resultant hardness.

Distribution: Known from the Glades site in Palm Beach County, Florida and the Glades region of South Florida

Age: not a satisfactory time marker as Belle Glade Plain is probably found in all three of the major Glades periods. It is, however, more common to Glades II and III then Glades I.

Form: Forms are usually larger simple bowls with slightly in-curving rims. Specimens from the Manatee region of the Gulf Coast have a rounded or round-flat lip rather than the perfectly flat lip that is more common in the Glades area proper.

Decoration: undecorated



Temper: Sand

Distribution: Glades region Miami area


Form: Most of the vessels from south Florida are bowls with in-curving walls and rims.

Decoration: None


Jim Tatum collection

Temper: Fine Sand

Distribution: Noted from St. Andrews Bay to Aplachee Bay in Northwest Florida

Age: Early to Middle Woodland, follows fabric tempered forms and precedes Santa Rosa Swift Creek Complicated stamping.

Form: Pot form with sub-conoidal or truncated conical base.  Rims are simple, unmodified, slightly out-curving.Bases are much thicker than upper walls.  Many basal structures include tetrapodal supports.

Decoration: Plain, undecorated surface.


C.B. Moore

This vessel was recovered from a mound near Crystal River with Crystal River pottery of the same period.

Temper: Fine sand and mica with occasional coarser particles. Paste is compact, fine-grained, and slightly contorted. Color usually gray-black at core. Bowl or exterior surface buff. Sometimes sherds are fired through to buff color. Rarely they are gray-black all the way through.

Distribution: Found all along the northwest coast of Florida. Extends southward to Tampa Bay.

Age: Middle Woodland, Santa Rosa-Swift Creek period

Form: Sherds suggest pots with slightly converged or flared orifices and possibly, jars with short, flared collars. There are some vessels illustrated by more which may belong to this type. These include: a long-collared jar; a pot with slightly flared orifice; a composite-silhouette insert jar-bowl; and a short-collared jar with lobes. Rims are in slanted, interned with a slight recur, and out flared. Many are the end near the orifice. The general confirmation of the lip is either around-pointed or flat. The distinguishing feature of the type is this galloping or notching on the top of the lip. This varies from widely spaced smooth scallops, whose crests are separated by 1 to 2 cm, to narrow deep notches, measuring as little as 5 mm from the crest to crest. Sub conical tube flat and round basis tetrapod will supports are identical with those found on Swift Creek complicated stamped early variety. Supports are arranged in a square and our tier-shaped and solid. They range in height from 1.5 cm to barely visible nodes; in diameter they range from 1 to 3 cm. Spacing varies from over 6 cm to less than 3 cm. When supports are Kerr on a vessel of markedly subcoidal form a little right T or platform is formed on the base.

Decoration: Vessel surfaces are plain.


Gordon R. Willey (1949)

Glades Plain is a catch-all classification for all plain pottery in south Florida that is not Belle Glade Plain or Goodland Plain.

Temper: Sand tempered pottery

Distribution: South Florida

Age: Early Woodland to Historic

Form: Most vessels in south Florida were simple bowls with in-curving rims.

Decoration: None


Florida Museum of Natural History

Glades Tooled bowl found by Mr. Hutchens along the Florida Keys

Temper: Sand

Distribution: South Florida

Age: Late Mississippian, Glades IIIb (1350-1513 A.D.)

Form: these vessels are an extremely shallow skillet-like bowl, perhaps used for preparing a kind of flat bread

Decoration: the body of the vessel is plain with a ramped or "pie crust" like rim treatment



Wiseman (1992)

Temper: Shell

Distribution: Suwannee Valley region

Age: Historic, Spanish mission period

Form: Only jar forms are known with flaring rims.  Some rims have a notched or pinched applique strip below the rim. Other rims are folded rim that is pinched or notched.  There may also be a applique strip at the shoulder of the jar.

Decoration: Undecorated


Florida Museum of Natural History

Temper: Sand, perhaps with some fiber and a pinkish hue in the paste

Distribution: South Florida, Ten Thousand Islands region

Age: Early Woodland, Glades I period (400 B.C. to A.D. 400)

Form: Unknown

Decoration: None


private collection







Gordon R. Willey (1949) 

Temper: sand and medium-sized grit particles and what appears to be crushed Clay. In general, tampering material coarser than in previous periods. Paste is sometimes fine and compact but more often is course, lumpy and contorted. Paste cores are usually gray; fired surfaces are often whitish buff, buff, or reddish buff.

Distribution: most common in the Northwest from Pensacola to St. Mark's and inland as far as the Tallahassee section and well up the Apalachicola River system. Rarely found in central coast or Manatee regions where it is replaced by Pinellas plain.

Age: Middle to Late Mississippian, Ft. Walton period. Continues into Leon-Jefferson period

Form: vessels tend to be larger than in earlier Gulf Coast periods. The casuela bowl,, collard globular bowl, globular bowl with flared orifice, open bowl and complete frog effigy bowl are all recorded. Casuela rims are in-turned. Collard ollas have straight, in slanting or out flared rims. Rims often thicken in near or at margin. Some rims are unmodified. Exterior rim folds, when they occur, are thin and flat but wide. They are often pinched or fluted. Sometimes a strap of clay was added to the exterior wall just below the rim, and this strip is pinched or fluted. Small applique nodes are often added along the rim exterior in place of fluting. Fingernail or long punctuations, placed in a row beneath the rim, or on rim exterior, are another variation. Lips are sometimes pointed or round-pointed, sometimes flat or squared. Most characteristic feature is a row of close-spaced notches which are always placed diagonally on the exterior edge of the lip. The base is rounded. Appendages are small vertically oriented lugs placed on the rim exterior. These may or may not have a projection above the lip. Both vertically placed loop and fix strap handles occur. The large ones are 6 to 8 cm long and over 2 cm wide. Small loop handles are 3 to 4 cm long and about 1 cm wide. Some handles have single, double, or triple nodes.

Decoration: surfaces are smooth but never achieve a polish. They are distinguished by temper particles, usually pieces of quartz, which extrude through onto the surface. In the case of the predominantly clay-tempered specimens, hard clay particles give the surface a course texture. Surfaces are commonly modeled, and vary in color depending upon the degree of firing.



Fernbank Museum

Temper: Grit

Distribution: Northern Florida adjacent to Georgia's southern counties

Age: Late Mississippian, Lamar phase to Historic period

Form: Shallow & deep open bowls, deep jars, both collared and non-collared.

Decoration: Plain & undecorated except for the applique strip along the rim that was most often pinched or punctated with reed.


Florida Museum of Natural History


a. Florida Museum of Natural History b. Jim Tatum collection

Temper: a sand and grit-tempered where with a Compaq paste and hard surface.

Distribution: the type is known for Leon and Jefferson counties.

Age: historic, dates from the Leon-Jefferson period.

Form: vessel forms are similar to those of the all mode he feels complex of Georgia. The most common shape is a shallow bowl with in curved, straight, or flaring rim; flat or rounded lip; and rounded, flat or annular base. Other forms are the plate, bottle, kudzu lowball, log shall lowball, and European-influenced pitcher shake.

Decoration: plain, undecorated surface.








Lloyd Schroder collection


C.B. Moore

Temper: Diatomaceous earth

Distribution: Occurs sporadically within the St. Johns and Oklawaha River basins

Age: Middle Woodland, St. Johns 1a period

Vessel forms: Large globular bowls with slightly constricted openings.  Vessels have broad folded rims, often decorated with cut out geometrical designs.  Perhaps related to some Weeden Island Plain designs.

Decoration: Vessels have broad folded rims, often decorated with cut out geometrical designs.  Perhaps related to some Weeden Island plain designs.



a. Lloyd Schroder collection b. The Florida Anthropologist

Temper: plant fiber, possibly Spanish moss, which on firing burnt out leaving a characteristic honeycomb appearance. Later forms of the ware often have quartz sand as an added a plastic, and some examples tend toward chalky where St. John's series in texture.

Distribution: this pottery is most often found insights on the St. Johns River above Palatka, Florida, but occurs sporadically on the coast.

Age: late archaic, it's temporal position is the orange period.

Form: the rim is usually simple and straight sided with a rounded or slightly flat lit. A log is rarely found on the rim; it is an outward rounded extension of the lip. The base is normally flat and unmarked but a few shirts show impressions of twined and plated textiles.

Decoration: the surface is often well smooth, but normally has a vermeil killer appearance due to fiber strand holes. The interior sometimes exhibits pronounced tooling marks.


Donated by Paleo Enterprises

Temper: Diatomaceous earth

Distribution: Central Coast and Manatee regions of Florida. Also extends eastward into peninsular Florida as a minority type.

Age: middle and late Woodland, probably both Weeden island I and II, but more common in the latter period.

Form: flattened-globular bowls, deep open bowls, cylindrical beakers. Rims have exterior fold Erie it ovate and triangular rim projections. Lit usually rounded with occasional use of triangular punctuations on lip or rim projections.

Decoration: surface is usually polished.



a. Florida Museum of Natural History b. donated by Paleo Enterprises

Temper: heavily tempered with find two large limestone lumps. These often leach out leaving a large holes in surface. Paste texture is course. Color ranges from gray to tan or black. Fire clouded. Surfaces poorly smoothed and uneven.

Distribution: the southwestern part of central Florida area may be the hearth of this type, but it also extends out to the central Gulf Coast.

Age: middle to late Woodland, Weeden island I and II. Possibly has an even greater time range.

Form: open and slightly constricted bowls with unmodified rims.

Decoration: surfaces are poorly smooth and uneven, but otherwise 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 rent.

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.


donated by Paleo Enterprises

Temper: Sand and lumps of crushed limestone. The paste is black or gray at the core. The surface color is usually black or gray although sometimes a whitish buff. Tooling marks are evident on both surfaces. In general better made and smoother then glades ware.

Distribution: known only from Perico Island.

Age: middle Woodland, Deptford and/or Santa Rosa-Swift Creek periods of Northwest Florida.

Form: large simple bowls with in curve the Rims. Rims are unmodified and lips are rounded or round-pointed with slight interior bevel.

Decoration: undecorated.


Florida Museum of Natural History

Temper: ranges from fine sand through medium-course sand to a Clay, possibly temperless paste. Depending upon the aplastic, paste ranges from granular and compact to course contorted and laminated. The latter is crumbly and fragile. Although lacking in temper particles, there is no resemblance to the smooth, soft, even Biscayne ware. Base color is usually Brown.

Distribution: Manatee in central coast regions. Makes stand further north than safety Harbor incised.

Age: late Mississippian to early historic, safety Harbor period

Form: large open bowls with slightly in curve for Rams, Co. Z bowls, collard globular all was, and pot forms. Rams sometimes folded on exterior. Use of nodes and pinched punctuations on or below the rim. Characteristically has deep to slight indentations, crimping, or taking on exterior edge of the lip. Bases are probably rounded. Appendages are small, vertically placed loop handles with nodes at top, crude effigy (?) Handles with nodes, large ovate horizontal rim projections.

Decoration: surface is rough and often cracks easily. Lumps of clay may extrude. Color is gray to brown tube off. Poorly smoothed on both surfaces with tooling marks in evidence.








a. The Florida Anthropologist b. Jim Tatum collection

Lloyd Schroder Collection

Temper: diatomaceous Earth with a soft, chalky texture so that theware can be recognized by feel alone. some of the earlier examples contain fiber temper and apparently represent an evolution from late orange plane form. Other inclusions are rarely a few small shell fragments, probably accidental, and small red to brown colored inclusions of the same texture as the remainder of the paste. Slender spicules, perhaps from sponges, are also rarely included in the paste. Of more importance is an increasing amount of sand sometimes found in examples of this type from late St. Johns II sites.often it is in such quantity that the insureds merged into a great-tempered series.

Distribution: St. John's plane pottery is found in all parts of the region as well as in much of peninsular Florida.

Age: early Woodland to his story times, orange period to this St. Augustine period

Form: Bulls are the most common vessel form. They are usually large, very commonly with straight out sloping sides although examples with constricted mouth are not uncommon. Small necked, pair-shaped jars may be an early form; at least the form appears more often in St. John's I sites, but jars with constricted next and flaring orifices occur later in St. John's II times. In both of the St. Johns periods small vessels of unusual shape and variable Rams, flanged or pointed, for example, occur. Gordon forms are not uncommon and are perhaps most abundant in the St. Johns I period. During this same horizon basil supports or feet were in style. These generally numbered for, but if you tripod vessels, and one which can only be described as bipod, are known. Feet varied greatly in form from those which appear to be mere pinching-up of the surface to well modeled supports. The boat vessel with square cut and blogs is noteworthy in that it appears in greatest frequency in the Southeast in this area, where it ranges from St. John's a I into St. John's II times. Eccentric forms, not considered elsewhere, include flanged earthenware tubs, school-shaped objects, and four-legged miniature stools.

Decoration: the vessels are not decorated by any surface treatment although certain vessels with sculpturing, modeling, and appendages are included in this category. Where to draw the line between St. John's plane and effigy forms is not clear.


Temper: seems to be Clay; very little sand or grit. Some inclusion of very fine fibers. Paste is very lumpy, angular, and contorted. Great core and light buff fired surfaces.

Distribution: only from a single site in wall Kulick County, Florida on the Northwest Florida coast.

Age: middle Woodland, surface associations and conditions at the site where this material was found suggest that it is either Deptford or Santa Rosa-Swift Creek related.

Form: no exact data, although body sure words suggest large vessels.

Decoration: surfaces are smooth but tend to be bumpy. Both surfaces, particularly the exterior, are characterized by large pockets where pieces have broken out. Interiors usually black, but exteriors are a chalky buff which is also very fire-modeled. Small fiber vermiculation's on surface are common.



C.B. Moore

Temper: find sand with only rare coarser particles in the form of grip or lumps of clay. Micah is observed in most shirts. Paste texture is granular. Some tendency, occasionally observed, toward lamination and contortion of paste, although this does not affect the hard, compact quality of the paste. May be oxidized to buff color throughout; may have buff surfaces and great core; may have only in exterior above surface; or may be great-black throughout. Surface color varies according to the firing. Light buff, red-buff, great, and mottled black are the most common. Fire clouding his frequent. Both surfaces well smooth polished.

Distribution: the entire Florida Gulf Coast area.

Age: middle and late Woodland, Weeden island I and II periods.

Form: Includes medium-deep, hemispherical and shallow open bowls. Bowls with in-curving sides vary from those which are only slightly in-curved to others which are flattened-globular. Some flattened-globular bowls are collared. There are also jars, simple and short-collared, long collared, and with square collars. There are, in addition, a number of unusual-shaped vessels these are nearly always found as mortuary ware, some of which were manufactured with holes and were obviously for ceremonial purposes only. These forms include multi-compartment trays, double bowls, single-globed jars, double-globe jars, gourd-effigy bowls with singular lateral handle, various forms of bowls and jars with a fixed effigy figures or adornments, semi-effigy bowls and jars, human-figure vessels, globular bowls with multiple body lobes, and miscellaneous eccentric shapes. Rims are commonly thickened at or near the vessel orifice. This thickening is accomplished by both exterior, and, occasionally, interior foals. Sometimes there is no fold but the rim is, nevertheless, thickened. On the conventional shapes, rims are in curved (globular bowls) and out-slanted (open bowls). Occasionally globular bowl rims are sharply recurved. Rim folds are rounded, rectangular and triangular. The fold, or thickened margin, is often underlined with a single in size line. Occasionally there are two in size lines with one in circling the inside of the fold. Lips are both flat and rounded. Many of the folded or thickened rims are babbled either to the in's side or outside. Incised or linear punctate lines on top of the lip may occur. Bases are both rounded and flat. Appendages are rim projections, of which there are usually four tool vessel. These may be triangular or ovate-triangular.sometimes they extend out horizontally; in other instances they are slanted upward at a 45° angle from the plane of the vessel mouth. They vary greatly as to size, some extending only a centimeter or so from the vessel rim while others project three or 4 cm.

Decoration: vessel surfaces are plain and undecorated.