Deptford Linear Check Stamped

var. Yadkin

Background

The type Deptford Linear Check Stamped was formally defined by Joseph R. Caldwell and Antonio J. Waring, Jr. in 1939, based on materials recovered from the Deptford shell midden and several other sites in the vicinity of the city of Savannah, Chatham County, Georgia (Caldwell and Waring 1939a). The ware was recognized as part of a series including linear check, bold check, and simple stamped types that were stratigraphically intermediate between the Stallings and Wilmington series in the Chatham County sequence (Caldwell and Waring 1939b). Several formal type descriptions for Deptford Linear Check Stamped have appeared (e.g., Caldwell and Waring 1939a; Willey 1949:354-356; Griffin and Sears 1950; DePratter 1979:123-124), as well as a number of detailed descriptions of the ware from specific sites, localities, or regions (e.g., Griffin 1945:469, 472; Wauchope 1966:48 52; Waring and Holder 1968:135-144; Milanich 1971:161-169; Smith 1971; Anderson et al. 1979:145-150, 1982:277-281; Trinkley 1981a; Sassaman and Anderson 1990:192-200).

In some cases the check and linear check stamped finishes have been subsumed under a single type name, such as Deptford Check Stamped (e.g., Griffin 1945; Wauchope 1966), but in most cases two or more discrete types are used to categorize assemblages. In the present taxonomy several types—Deptford Linear Check, Deptford Check, Deptford Linear Check/Cord Marked, Deptford Linear Check/Fabric Impressed, and Deptford Linear Check/Simple Stamped—are employed to accommodate the variability observed within this finish. The difference between check and linear check stamping lies in the size of the horizontal and vertical lands making up the design; in the former they are equivalent in size and shape, while in the latter one is more pronounced than the other. The use of varieties to accommodate perceived regional variability in the Deptford ceramic series was advocated by Anderson et al. (1982) and by Charles Fairbanks (1962:10-12) and Betty Smith (1971:2, 58-59).

Linear Check Stamping occurs far more frequently than check stamping within the Deptford series in the South Carolina Coastal Plain. At Mattassee Lake, for example, a four to one ratio of linear check to check stamped finishes was observed, a ratio that appears to reflect the popularity of the two finishes throughout the area of the South Carolina Coastal Plain; an examination of surface collections from 313 sites noted 1543 sherds with linear check stamping to 335 sherds with check stamping (out of a total sample of 19,861 sherds; Anderson 1975b). In the Piedmont, in contrast, linear check stamping is very rare, with most Cartersville ceramics characterized by check stamping only.

In spite of considerable examination at a number of sites and localities, no stratigraphic trends have been noted in the occurrence of check as opposed to linear check stamping or in check size (e.g., Milanich 1971: 167; Anderson et al. 1979:147-148; 1982:279-280). Along the Santee River an appreciable proportion of stamp designs are applied parallel or at very low angles to the rim, a very different pattern from that observed at the mouth of the Savannah, where "the design is invariably applied in such a manner that the longitudinal lands intersect the rim obliquely" (Caldwell and Waring 1939a; DePratter 1979:124). What this difference means in cultural terms is presently unknown.

Sorting Criteria

Linear check stamping over the exterior vessel surface, defined as "a repeated parallel arrangement of two longitudinal lands which contain a series of finer transverse lands. . . . The longitudinal lands are invariably heavier and usually higher than the transverse lands" (Caldwell & Waring 1939a). The paste is sand or grit tempered with varying amounts of small (0.5-2.0 mm), rounded clear, white, or rose quartz inclusions. Considerable variability in the size, shape, and application of the stamping occurs, and overstamping is common; in some cases, the finish is badly smeared or even smoothed over. A few sherds exhibit single or double rows of linear checks, but these somewhat unusual finishes are a distinct minority. Occasionally sherds with both linear check and fabric impressed or cord marked finishes are noted (South 1976:40), unequivocally documenting the contemporaneity of the finishes (see Deptford Linear Check/Cord Marked and Deptford Linear Check/Fabric Impressed types).

The interiors are typically fairly well smoothed, although most are slightly gritty in texture. A few sherds exhibited interior stamping or other treatment such as incising, scraping, or irregular finishing. Rims are predominantly excurvate, with flattened, unmodified lips. Rounded lips are comparatively infrequent, while lip treatment, if present, tends to be characterized by simple or check stamping. Cylindrical to slightly conoidal jars and hemispherical bowls are represented, most from 25 to 35 cm in diameter at the rim. Tetrapods or sharp, V-shaped conoidal bases are rare in Coastal Plain assemblages, although they are common in Piedmont (Cartersville) assemblages. May be confused with Savannah Check Stamped, Cartersville Check Stamped, and Deptford Check Stamped.

Distribution

Deptford Linear Check Stamped occurs throughout the Coastal Plain and Fall Line areas of eastern Georgia and South Carolina, and is occasionally noted in the southeastern Coastal Plain of North Carolina. A similar, related ware, Cartersville Check Stamped occurs in the adjoining Piedmont of Georgia and western South Carolina, and the two types tend to intergrade.

Chronological Position

Early/Middle Woodland periods, Refuge-Deptford Phases (ca. 600 BC - AD 500). A range for the type between roughly 600 BC and AD 500 has been documented by radiocarbon dates from a number of sites in the Coastal Plain of Georgia and South Carolina. Along the lower Savannah River the ware occurs stratigraphically between the Refuge and Wilmington types, while along the lower Santee the ware is stratigraphically coeval with Wilmington Fabric Impressed and intermediate between the Refuge and Santee series.

Primary References

Caldwell and Waring (1939a, 1939b); Griffin (1945); Griffin and Sears (1950); Caldwell (1952, 1958, 1971); South (1960, 1976); Waring 1955, 1968c); Williams (1968); Waring and Holder (1968); Peterson (1971); Stoltman (1974); Anderson et al. (1979; 1982); Trinkley (1980a); DePratter (1979); Sassaman and Anderson 1990).

 

DEPTFORD LINEAR CHECK STAMPED/CORD MARKED

 

Sorting Criteria: Design consisting of discrete areas of linear check stamping and cord impressions typically occupying different areas on the same vessel. May be confused with Deptford Linear Check Stamped and Deptford Cord Marked.

 

Distribution: Rarely noted. The only reported examples are from 38BR495 in the central Savannah River valley (Brooks and Hanson 1988)..

 

Chronological Position: Early and Middle Woodland periods (ca. 600 BC-AD 500). The bold, parallel cord impressions couples with the small size of the linear checks suggests a date towards the latter end of this range.

 

Background: Sixty-six sherds from a single conoidal vessel with these finishes on it was found at 38BR495 (Brooks and Hanson 1988). The vessel was cord marked over its lower surface and linear check stamped on its upper surface; at the interface of these finishes both were present, with the cord marking placed over, and hence after, the linear check stamping.

 

Primary References: Brooks and Hanson 1988; Sassaman and Anderson 1990.

 

 

DEPTFORD LINEAR CHECK STAMPED/FABRIC IMPRESSED

 

Sorting Criteria: Design consisting of discrete areas of linear check stamping and fabric impressions on the same vessel. May be confused with Deptford Linear Check Stamped, Cape Fear Fabric Marked, or other fabric impressed types.

 

Distribution: Rarely noted. The only reported examples are from the Mattassee Lake sites on the lower Santee River.

 

Chronological Position: Early and Middle Woodland periods (ca. 600 BC-AD 500).

 

Background: The type is extremely rare in the Deptford series. Three sherds with a linear check stamped/fabric impressed finish were found at Mattassee Lake (Anderson et al. 1982: 280, 283). The cooccurrence of the two finishes on the same vessel unequivocally documents their contemporaneity.

 

Primary References: South 1976:40, Anderson et al. 1982:280

 

Primary references: Caldwell and Waring (1939a, 1939b); Sassaman and Anderson 1990).

 

 

DEPTFORD LINEAR CHECK/SIMPLE STAMPED

 

Sorting Criteria: Alternating arrangement of linear check and simple stamped designs. Typically from one to four rows of linear checks occur, separated by an empty area devoid of stamp impressions, or characterized by a single U-shaped or flattened groove. The linear check stamped portion of the design is a "repeated parallel arrangement of two longitudinal lands which contain a series of finer transverse lands . . . The longitudinal lands are invariably heavier and usually higher than the transverse lands" (Caldwell and Waring 1939). The lands are formed by the carving of grooves into a wooden paddle; the stamp is applied when the vessel paste is plastic. Occasionally smoothed somewhat after stamping. The width of the simple stamped portion of the design typically varies from 3.0-10.0 mm in width. Paste characterized by varying amounts of small (0.5-2.0 mm), rounded clear, white, or rose quartz inclusions. Interior finish typically slightly sandy or gritty in texture.

 

Distribution: Deptford Linear Check/Simple Stamped occurs throughout the Coastal Plain and Fall Line areas of eastern Georgia and South Carolina, and is occasionally noted in the southeastern Coastal Plain of North Carolina. Appears more common along the Savannah River than areas to the northeast.

 

Chronological Position: Early and Middle Woodland periods (ca. 600 BC-AD 500). Stratigraphic evidence for the G. S. Lewis site suggests that this type dates to fairly early within the temporal range for Deptford (Hanson 1986).

 

Background: Not previously defined. The finish combination was noted in a description of ceramics found in the central Savannah River Valley (Sassaman and Anderson 1990:193, 200). It appears to be fairly common along the central Savannah River. It is decidedly uncommon on the central Santee River, a distributional pattern that warrants further documentation and explanation.

 

Primary References: Sassaman and Anderson 1990:193, 200.