Oemler

(DePratter 1991, Waring 1966)

Oemler complicated stamped and check stamped wares were identified by Antonio Waring, and defined by Chester DePratter (1991). Like Refuge Dentate Stamped, Oemler Check Stamped seems to be an abused type name. The checks on Oemler tend to be diamonds or rhomboids, rather than the square and rectangular forms seen on Deptford and other check stamped wares. So when researchers see odd shaped checks they often call the pottery “Oemler” as a result. The complicated stamp designs are all rectilinear, with nested diamond, herringbone, and “alternating zones of triangle-filled pyramids and rows of diamond shaped lozenges separated by heavy lines” (DePratter 1991: 173) motifs represented. Sherds are tempered with “abundant fine sand” and “occasional medium grit.” Their texture, or feel is medium to fine- “not as coarse or gritty as Refuge or early Deptford.” Interior surfaces are carefully smoothed to burnished. The dating of the ware is problematic, as no stratified sites are known. DePratter suggests the complicated stamped type may date to his Refuge III period. He includes the check stamped variant with Deptford, and posits an evolution from rhomboid to square checks in his Deptford I period. This is based on seriation however, not empirical evidence. What is notable, however, is that even though DePratter lumps Oemler check stamped in with Deptford, people still seize on the unusual checks to define what they think is “Oemler.” But diamond checks are common on Qualla phase (1300-1900AD) pottery in the Appalachian summit, and on other wares as well (see Marcoux 2008) so care should be taken when applying this name.