Pee Dee Complicated Stamped

from David Anderson's type description


The type Pee Dee Complicated Stamped was formally defined by J. Jefferson Reid (1967: 42-52) as part of a comprehensive description of the Pee Dee series ceramics from the mound at the Town Creek site, Montgomery County, North Carolina. The Pee Dee series was first identified and briefly described by Joffre L. Coe based on the extensive excavations at the Town Creek site. The ware is sand tempered has moderate amounts of rounded quartz sand grains in the paste), and is characterized by carved paddle stamped designs which, in order of incidence in the type collection, included concentric circles, the filfot cross, arc angles, herring bone patterns, line blocks, quartered circles, and split diamonds (Reid 1967: 5-8; Reid (1965, ff) noted similarities between the Pee Dee type and complicated stamped ceramics found throughout the South Appalachian area (Holmes 1903; Ferguson 971) but concluded that they were most similar to ceramics found along the lower Savannah River and throughout much of South Carolina:

The ceramics of the Pee Dee people are very much like those found at the Fort Watson, Hollywood, Irene, and other sites along the Broad and Wateree Rivers in South Carolina and the lower Savannah River in Georgia. So similar are these ceramics, in fact, that a cultural relationship is postulated for the ceramic complexes at these sites during the late prehistoric and protohistoric times. This relationship is seen in terms of a Town-Creek-Irene Axis, a loose geopolitical unit of independent sites inhabited by peoples with a related cultural heritage (Reid 1967: 83, 84).

Ferguson (1971) has provided a comprehensive review of archeological investigations on late prehistoric Mississippian period) sites throughout the South Appalachian area. While supporting Reid's inferences about the similarity of sites in the general North and South Carolina area, Ferguson (1971: 126-127) stressed that connections with other parts of the province were also evident.

General similarities of the Pee Dee type with both Savannah and Lamer Complicated Stamped ceramics from northern Georgia are evident, not only in motif Wauchope 1966: 77-82) but also in the internal evolution of rim treatment, from plain to reed punctated rims, to pinched rim strips Rudolph 1978, Rudolph and Blanton 1980, Smith 1978). The evolution of rim treatment noted by Reid (1967: 82-82) at Town Creek, from plain to reed punctated rims with the addition of rosettes, shaped pellets, and fillets rim strips), is virtually identical to the changes reported from the Duvall (AD 1375-and Dyer (AD 1475-1600) Phases of Early and Middle Lamar from the Middle Oconee River (Smith 1978). Similar patterns are also noted by South from coastal South Carolina between his Chicora Pee Dee, Savannah series) and York Ashley series) ware groups. Based on the work in northern Georgia, the Pee Dee assemblage described from Town Creek would appear to date from roughly AD 1350 to 1550, slightly earlier than AD 1450 to 1650 range suggested by Reid 1967: 62, 63) yet more in line with radiocarbon dates from the site. The preeminence of concentric circle complicated stamping -a hallmark of the Savannah Complicated Stamped type (Caldwell and Waring 1939a; Wauchope 1967: 79) coupled with the virtual absence of bold incising, further supports a (largely) European contact time-range for the type Wauchope 86; Smith 1978, Rudolph 1978).

Pee Dee ceramics have been reported from a number of locations in South Carolina, primarily from the sea-island and fall line areas, and along major river systems. Although these wares resemble materials described under the Savannah and particularly Lamar types in Georgia, use of the Pee Dee is retained, primarily because Reid's (1967) type description is far more detailed, and hence useful, than any reported for Lamar Complicated Stamped Wauchope 1966; 79-82 for perhaps the best published description of Lamar Complicated Stamped). Eventual accommodation of the Pee Dee and Savannah Lamer types will be necessary, particularly since the primary criteria for separation appears to be increasingly one of geography the Georgia-South Carolina state line).

Pee Dee materials from Mattassee Lake are similar to the Pee Dee ceramics described from the type site (Reid 967) and are similar or identical to artifacts recovered from the Fort Watson (Ferguson 1975a) and Mulberry (Ferguson 1974) mound sites upriver along the Santee drainage. Trinkley has noted a virtual identity of Pee Dee ceramics from northern Charleston County with materials from Town Creek. The close similarity in manufacture ends to support Reid's (1967: 83-84) inference about close sociopolitical ties between late prehistoric groups or settlements within this general area.

Sorting Criteria

Complicated stamping over the exterior vessel surface; stamp impressions (typically) dominated by rectilinear or combination curvilinear-rectilinear design motifs. The motifs are (typically) well-executed, with the width between the land making up the design uniform and rarely more than 2.0-2.5 mm. The paste is characterized by a fair amount of fine sand, although inclusions over 1.0 in size are rare. Vessel interiors are well smoothed; rims include both incurvate and excurvate forms, with rounded and flat, occasionally stamped lips. May be confused with Savannah Complicated Stamped, var. Jeremv, and Ashley Complicated Stamped, unspecified on small sherds (see Reid 1967 for a comprehensive description of the type).


Along major drainages in the coastal plain and lower piedmont of South Carolina and extreme southeastern North Carolina, and throughout the sea-island area of South Carolina.

Chronological Position

Middle Mississippian period (AD 1200-1450). Many of the design motifs evident on Savannah Complicated Stamped and early Irene ceramics are present on the Pee Dee type, and separation of these wares can be difficult on a sherd by sherd basis, particularly if rims, or large portions of the design are lacking.

Primary References

(1952); Reid (1965, 1967); Ferguson 1, 1974, 1975a, 1975b); South (1 1975); Anderson (1975a, 1975b); Anderson and Claggett (1 979); Trinkley (1980a,1981b, 1981c, 1981e).