2004 Denver Annual Meeting (November 7–10, 2004)

Paper No. 9
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM


SMITH, Michael S., Department of Earth Sciences, Univ of North Carolina, Wilmington, NC 28403-5944 and TRINKLEY, Michael, Chicora Foundation, Inc, PO Box 8664, Columbia, SC 29202, smithms@uncw.edu

Late Archaic - Early Woodland (2500 - 1000 B.C) Stallings Island fiber tempered plainware pottery is found from northern North Carolina to northwest Florida and is separated into two temper groups based upon fiber type. 34 sherds (Crescent site, Beaufort County, SC) were studied to determine textural or mineralogical characteristics to assist in form and type separation. The dominant aplastic components are quartz with minor k-spar, plagioclase, and rock fragments. Quartz is either angular to subangular monocrystalline mineral grains or polycrystalline rock fragments. Very fine opaque minerals, rare mica (biotite), epidote and an amphibole are found in the paste. A few brick-red argillaceous inclusions (ACF; 0.1 - 0.5 mm) were found in some sherds. Oxidation features (red to red-orange) are found on inner and outer surfaces, extending inward for several millimeters. The region between these oxidized zones (core) is black to smoky gray. The paste has been completely vitrified and suggests the lower limit for the firing temperature to be above 500o C.

Only a few sherds were dominated by fiber. The fiber is visible as a void with some carbonized remains and exhibits specific orientation with oval to round voids in the core and elongate fiber voids near the interior and exterior surfaces. This orientation suggests fiber distribution during manufacturing and the absence of fiber near the surface may be due to floating or smoothing practices that were applied to bring up fine clays to cover the fiber. Only two sherds had carbonized stem fragments present that would allow identification of the Spanish moss. Some of the Stallings plainware have such low fiber contents as to be indistinguishable from Early Woodland Thom's Creek wares. The identity and textural features of the fine-grained aplastic minerals found in the paste are also consistent in both the fiber-tempered and non-fiber tempered sherds. This suggests that the materials used are consistent with clay extraction from coastal plain fluvial (river) or estuarine setting. There were no indicator minerals or shell material to suggest a marine source for the clay. This may suggest that the fiber incorporation was a personal choice, that the clay source (or manufacturing location) was a factor, or that these sherds represent examples of an evolving pottery manufacturing process.