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Early Pottery

Technology, Function, Style, and Interaction in the Lower Southeast

Edited by Rebecca Saunders and Christopher T. Hays, with contributions from Rich

Publication Year: 2004

A synthesis of research on earthenware technologies of the Late Archaic Period in the southeastern U.S.

Information on social groups and boundaries, and on interaction between groups, burgeons when pottery appears on the social landscape of the Southeast in the Late Archaic period (ca. 5000-3000 years ago). This volume provides a broad, comparative review of current data from "first potteries" of the Atlantic and Gulf coastal plains and in the lower Mississippi River Valley, and it presents research that expands our understanding of how pottery functioned in its earliest manifestations in this region.

Included are discussions of Orange pottery in peninsular Florida, Stallings pottery in Georgia, Elliot's Point fiber-tempered pottery in the Florida panhandle, and the various pottery types found in excavations over the years at the Poverty Point site in northeastern Louisiana. The data and discussions demonstrate that there was much more interaction, and at an earlier date, than is often credited to Late Archaic societies. Indeed, extensive trade in pottery throughout the region occurs as early as 1500 B.C.

These and other findings make this book indispensable to those involved in research into the origin and development of pottery in general and its unique history in the Southeast in particular.

Published by: The University of Alabama Press


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List of Figures

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pp. vii-ix

List of Tables

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pp. xi-xii

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p. xiii

This volume was generated from a series of papers given at the Society for American Archaeology meetings in 2000. The editors would like to thank all the participants of that symposium. To the authors included here, thanks for putting up with our questions ...

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1. Introduction: Themes in Early Pottery Research

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pp. 1-22

When pottery appeared at the close of the Middle Archaic period (8000–5000 b.p.), the lower Southeast (Figure 1.1) contained a complex social landscape that included small, mobile, hunting and gathering groups as well as semisedentary and possibly transegalitarian groups. These peoples constructed large earthen mound complexes in Louisiana and shell mound...

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2. Common Origins and Divergent Histories in the Early Pottery Traditions of the American Southeast

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pp. 23-39

The oldest pottery traditions in the American Southeast consist of fiber-tempered wares whose origins arguably can be traced to a single source. The probable locus of origin for all lineages of fiber-tempered pottery in the south Atlantic, peninsular Florida, and the eastern Gulf Coast is most likely the south-central coast of present-day Georgia and northeast Florida. ...

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3. Spatial Variation in Orange Culture Pottery: Interaction and Function

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pp. 40-62

Orange pottery is a low-fired earthenware tempered with Spanish moss (Simpkins and Allard 1986; Simpkins and Scoville 1981) or palmetto (Brain and Peterson 1971) fibers. The traditional culture history of the type place production of Orange wares between ca. 4000 and 2500 B.P. (Milanich1994:94). A terminal Transitional period between ca. 2500 and 2000 B.P. has...

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4. Paste Variability and Possible Manufacturing Origins of Late Archaic Fiber-Tempered Pottery from Selected Sites in Peninsular Florida

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pp. 63-104

Late Archaic period fiber-tempered pottery from Florida has been variously called Orange (Bullen 1972; Griffin 1945b), semifiber tempered (Bullenand Bullen 1953), Norwood (Bullen 1969; Phelps 1965), and simply fibertempered. The relationships of the various fiber-tempered wares found indifferent parts of Florida—and of the peoples who made them—are poorly...

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5. The Emergence of Pottery in South Florida

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pp. 105-128

Relatively few discussions exist on the causes of the early adoption of pottery in Florida. Those few discussions that do exist are generally concerned with early fiber-tempered wares and include theories of spread or migration from coastal Georgia (Milanich 1994:86; Sassaman, this volume) or SouthAmerica (Crusoe 1971a; Ford 1969; Reichel-Dolmatoff 1972; cf. Stoltman 1972b). Some suggest...

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6. Fiber-Tempered Pottery and Cultural Interaction on the Northwest Florida Gulf Coast

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pp. 129-149

When Gordon Willey (1949b) published his mid-twentieth-century landmark volume Archeology of the Florida Gulf Coast, only a few sherds of fiber-tempered pottery had been found at sites in northwest Florida, and their characteristics were given little more than passing mention. Even up until the early 1960s, fiber-tempered pottery identified in the Florida panhandle...

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7. Early Pottery at Poverty Point: Origins and Functions

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pp. 150-168

The Poverty Point site (16WC5), located on the eastern edge of Ma

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8. In the Beginning: Social Contexts of First Pottery in the Lower Mississippi Valley

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pp. 169-192

For three-quarters of a century, archaeologists have been told that the earliest pottery in southeastern North America was fiber tempered and was followed by sand- and clay-tempered wares. We instead propose that the fabric of early pottery was contingent on where, when, and why ceramics first appeared and was not dictated by some inviolate, step-by-step progression...

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9. Petrographic Thin-Section Analysis of Poverty Point Pottery

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pp. 193-209

Poverty Point (16WC5), located in West Carroll Parish, Louisiana, is famous for many things, including its earthen architecture, stone artifacts, and long-distance trade. The people who built and occupied Poverty Point are not,however, renowned for their pottery vessel technology, despite being contemporary with and clearly trading with people along the ...

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10. Did Poverty Pointers Make Pots?

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pp. 210-222

Although small amounts of at least two pottery wares—clay tempered and fiber tempered—were recovered during their excavations at Poverty Point(16WC5), Ford and Webb (1956:105–106) made clear it was only the latter that they felt was associated with Poverty Point culture. Subsequently, as the radiocarbon evidence mounted documenting that fiber-tempered pottery ...


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pp. 223-232


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pp. 233-262


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pp. 263-264


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pp. 265-276

E-ISBN-13: 9780817384272
Print-ISBN-13: 9780817351274

Page Count: 292
Publication Year: 2004

OCLC Number: 650060112
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Early Pottery

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Subject Headings

  • Mississippian pottery -- Southern States -- Themes, motives.
  • Indian pottery -- Southern States -- Themes, motives.
  • Excavations (Archaeology) -- Southern States.
  • Southern States -- Antiquities.
  • Indian pottery -- Southern States -- Classification.
  • Poverty Point culture.
  • Indians of North America -- Southern States -- Antiquities.
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