Saturday, November 1, 2008

Pot Sherd Mania

Well, after many hours of staring at little pieces of fired earth through an 8X magnifier and measuring the bits of sand, crushed quartz, and shell that served as temper, I finally finished cataloguing the aboriginal pottery from June's 'Big Dig.' A tedious, but instructive, exercise. Some number crunching remains to be done, but that's the fun part. Here are some preliminary results:
  1. We recovered nearly 350 sherds of aboriginal pottery.
  2. About 86% of those came from the seven units that Pete was in charge of...the so-called aboriginal locus identified through shovel testing in October of 2007.
  3. We recovered 14 sherds of Accokeek (Early Woodland) and eight Mockley (Middle Woodland), but most of the sherds date to the Late Woodland (post AD 900).
  4. The Late Woodland sherds include Potomac Creek (82), Townsend (34), and Moyaone (166) types, and three possible Yeocomico sherds.
  5. Moyaone sherds comprise about one-half of the aboriginal pottery assemblage, Potomac Creek about one-quarter, and Townsend about 10%.
  6. Surface treatment and decoration in all cases were limited to cord-marking (well, there are a few net-impressed and fabric impressed wares)...there were no incised decorations.
In general, the aboriginal pottery dates to the latter part of the Late Woodland. This contrasts with our findings in the plowed fields which comprise mostly earlier (Late Archaic/Transitional) materials.

I'll post additional findings as I analyze the spatial and stratigraphic relationships among the sherds and other aboriginal artifacts.


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