Refuge Simple Stamped

notched rim

from David Anderson's Refuge Type Descriptions


Refuge Simple Stamped was identified by Waring (1968b:200) based on his excavation of the small shell midden (38JA5) on the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge in South Carolina. Refuge Simple Stamped was one of the most common wares recovered in the sample of 683 sherds recovered (N=200; 29.3 percent; Waring 1968b:200), second only too plain finishes. Recognition of Refuge Phase sites has been highly confused, however, primarily because most of the Refuge types (as defined) are similar or identical to established types in the Thom's Creek and Deptford series. A formal type description of Refuge Simple Stamped was published by DePratter (1979:120-122), based on collections from the mouth of the Savannah River (including from the Refuge site). While Refuge Dentate Stamped pottery with a temperless to clay-grog tempered paste occurs along the lower Santee, a comparable simple stamped ware is not observed in this area. See discussion for Refuge Dentate Stamped.

Sorting Criteria

Carelessly executed and applied U- and V-shaped longitudinal grooves. The stamp impressions are frequently irregularly spaced with respect to each other and haphazardly applied, although care in stamp execution and application may vary considerably. V-shaped impressions dominate assemblages, although U-shaped grooves may occur as a minority finish. Parallel stamping tends to be the principal method of application, although cross stamping commands an appreciable minority of the sherds in many assemblages. The vessels are occasionally lightly to extensively smoothed after stamping. Paste ranges from appreciable sand to temperless to (rarely in the case of the simple stamped finish) tempered with small (0.5-2.0 mm) lumps of aplastic clay (grog). Flat, excurvate rims are ubiquitous; lips are typically undecorated.


Found throughout the Coastal Plain of eastern Georgia, and western South Carolina; the greatest incidence of type appears to be along the Savannah River. More common in the lower Coastal Plain, the type is rarely noted above the Fall Line. The ware is uncommon northeast of the Edisto River drainage; Refuge ceramics along the Savannah River are characterized by sand tempered paste, while those along the lower Santee have clay-grog paste, although simple stamping is not observed. Cylindrical, rounded bottom, slightly flaring jars or bowls from 30 to 40 cm in diameter are indicated.

Chronological Position

Early Woodland period (1000-600 BC). Two radiocarbon dates from the lower Savannah River unambiguously date the ware to about 1000BC: 970±200BC (M267; Williams 1968:329) and 920 BC±110 (GX01752; Peterson 1971a:249). Two additional dates, from the second Refuge site (Lepionka 1981a:76), both support this early date, and suggest that the Refuge Phase lasted for several hundred years (1070 BC±115, QC-784; 510 BC±110, QC785).

Primary References

Waring (1968b:200, l968c); Williams (1968); Peterson (1971a, 1971b); DePratter (1979:120-122); Lepionka (1980, 1981, n.d.)