Monday, September 28, 2009

Don't Mockley Me!

Hey folks, as promised here is another bit of Aboriginal ceramic review. Today I am focusing on the type known as Mockley. These particular sherds (to the left) were found in Stratum 3 of Unit 60 in the Compton Field. The top sherd is a body piece while the bottom is a rim.

Mockley vessels date to between AD 200-900 during the Middle Woodland Period. These wares have a soft, clayey texture. Coarsely crushed shell (usually oyster shell) is used to temper the clay, though frequently the shell fragments have leached out. This leaching occurred when the sherd repeatedly came into contact with water which, over time, dissolved the shell, creating the pock-marked surface as seen in the above image. This characteristic makes it possible to detect a shell-temper quickly, as often all that remains of the temper are holes in various sizes.

Mockley wares come in different varieties including undecorated, net-impressed, and cord-marked. Hopefully sometime this week or next I will post a blog on how the various decorations on Aboriginal ceramics are created (once we have gotten through our type review of course!). One or both of the sherds from Unit 60 may be cord-marked, but as you can see it is difficult to discern if there is any decoration amidst all of the holes. Mockley vessels came in a range of colors, from buff to black, and generally were medium to large in size.

If you would like to get a closer look at these sherds just click on the above images--they will enlarge.

Next up I'll go back in time a bit more into the Early Woodland Period and take a look at some Accokeek sherds!



Jefferson Patterson Memorial Park and Museum

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