Irene Complicated Stamped

from David Anderson's type description


The type Irene Complicated Stamped was originally defined by Caldwell and and subsequently by (1991: 192) based on materials recovered from the Irene Mound near Savannah. At the mouth of the Savannah the Irene I Phase (AD 130011325-140011425) is identified by the appearance of Irene Complicated Stamped pottery, characterized by filfot cross and line block motifs, and a variety of rim decorative treatments (DePratter 1979: 11 1, 199 1 :190-192). Bold incising, a hallmark of the later, Irene phase, appears for the first time, but in low incidence and with relatively simple one to three line designs placed just below the rim primarily on bowls. Rim treatment has proven a particularly sensitive temporal indicator. Plain folded rims occur in small numbers late in Savannah followed by hollow cane punctations and riveted nodes during the transition from Savannah to Irene I, with rosettes and narrow folded rims with cane punctations and, rarely, finger pinched appliqued rim strips characteristic of Irene I assemblages. (See also discussion under Savannah Complicated Stamped).

The Middle Mississippian period in the middle Savannah River Valley dates from 750 to 550 BP, during the Hollywood and (provisional) Silver Bluff phases. Transitional Savannah/Irene or Early/Middle Mississippian assemblages in the middle Savannah River Valley have been provisionally assigned to the Hollywood phase (AD 1250- 1350)(Anderson et al. 1986) developed from the assemblages found at that site by (1965). Savannah Check stamping is common, followed by Mississippian Plain, Burnished Plain, and both Savannah and Irene Complicated Stamped, the latter dominated by variations on the filfot cross motif. As at Irene during Caldwell and McCann's (1941: 41-42) contemporaneous "transitional" period, cane punctations and riveted nodes with cane punctations are present. Corncob impressing occurs in low incidence.

Assemblages reflecting a mixture of attributes from the Irene I phase at the mouth of the basin and the Rembert phase in the central Piedmont appear following the Hollywood phase (ca. AD 1350-1450) during what is provisionally described as the Silver Bluff phase (Anderson 1994). Diagnostic indicators include Pee and Lamar Complicated Stamped pottery, characterized by modified rims with punctations, rosettes, nodes and, less commonly, folded rims or applied rim strips. Rectilinear line blocks and filfot crosses and scrolls dominate complicated stamped assemblages; less common motifs include the herring bone and arc-angle. Other finishes present include burnished plain and check stamping, the latter in low incidence. Incising of any kind is rare, occurring as simple one to several line designs below the rim of bowls and sometimes in conjunction with rim modification, on folds. If ceramic collections can be obtained from the area of the Mason's Plantation mound group they may provide the basis for establishing a local equivalent of the Irene phases that could be called either Silver Bluff or Mason's Plantation.

Sorting Criteria

Complicated stamping dominated by filfot cross motifs, although line block, figure and other designs occur but are distinct minorities. Stamp impressions are usually narrow, well-executed, and carefully applied, with overstamping uncommon. Rim treatment is common, including reed punctations, rosettes, applique strips, lugs, and nodes. The grooves making up the design are typically 1 -2.0 mm wide, and about 1 mm deep. Interior surfaces are typically well smoothed or burnished. The paste contains a large amount of coarse sand with inclusions up to 3.0-4.0 mm in size common.

Distribution: Irene Complicated Stamped ceramics are found along the lower Savannah River and in the Sea Island area to the north and south of the mouth of the Savannah. The ware becomes progressively uncommon to the northeast of the Savannah.

Chronological Position

Middle Mississippian period (AD 1300-AD 1550).

Primary References

Caldwell and Waring; Caldwell and McCann; DePratter (1979, 1991: 190- 192).