Sunday, January 13, 2008

When in doubt...Ask the experts!

First let me apologize for the lack of a post yesterday.

This past week I had the task of looking more closely at the area just south of the old Episcopal Church in Port Tobacco. More specifically I was looking at the prehistoric ceramics, fire-cracked rock and lithic fragments we have found in that area to better define the prehistoric site area. So after playing with our map and outlining areas where sherds and flakes were found we decided that we need to identify these sherds to see what they were. Great idea! The problem was that Jim was out of town and I have no experience with prehistoric ceramics. So it was time to ask the experts. I contacted Dr. Charlie Hall at the Maryland Historical Trust for help. Dr. Hall was very helpful in that not only did he help me identify the sherds he explained some of the differences that you look for and how some of these vessels were made. I was also given some good reference material on prehistoric ceramics in the Maryland and Chesapeake area. Dr. Hall was not alone in helping me for he recruited Maureen Kavanagh who is the head of the office of archeology at the Trust to help as well. I want to make sure I thank them again here for their interest and help in our project at Port Tobacco.

So what did we find when looking at these pottery sherds? Out of the 9 pieces I took from the collection to identify, 5 of them were Potomac Creek, 1 Townshend, 1 Rappahanok, 1 Accokeek and 1 which was unidentifiable. Does this mean that the site we have is a Potomac Creek site dating anywhere from 900AD to 1600AD? Well not necessarily. 5 pieces of pottery is not enough to date the site without further investigation. What it does tell me is that i have to do some research on Potomac Creek ceramics so I can tell you all about them tomorrow!


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